Retailers and vendors believe they will have to continue to contend with a number of issues critical to remaining viable, competitive and trend-right in the second half of 2009.
They expect to have to deal with a continued harsh economy, sluggish store traffic and price-conscious consumers who want a compelling reason to buy. Executives from the manufacturing, marketing, financial and retail fields were asked what they consider to be the single biggest challenge as they tackle third- and fourth-quarter business. Here’s what they said: Bob Nolan, president of Jockey International North America wholesale and licensing operations: “The biggest challenge is the economy, getting unemployment down and making people feel comfortable about their economic future. When that happens, they will be back in the stores and will start spending vigorously again.”
Dan Sackrowitz, vice president of marketing at barenecessities.com: “The biggest issue is finding ways to remain relevant and compelling to an economy-conscious consumer, while remaining true to your brands’ core identity. Companies need to get customers to stick by their brand, without resorting to tactics that will erode the trust and positioning that they’ve spent so many years building.”
Josie Natori, chief executive officer of Natori Co.: Believes creativity will be the formula for success for retailers and consumers.
“I think the most important challenge is product newness and/or innovation that will bring back the consumer.” Allan Ellinger, senior managing partner at Marketing Management Group: Said tight credit paired with poor consumer confidence will continue to be a huge issue. “In today’s environment, lenders are trying to eliminate or minimize over-advances [advances that exceed collateral value]. The reason banks tend to be very cautious is because companies in the apparel industry are undercapitalized and retain too little earnings. I think some vendors have been dramatically impacted and some have managed accordingly.”
Ellinger said one of the biggest challenges is to get consumers to regain confidence. “Apparel sales are down 25 to 30 percent across the industry. There has to be a dramatic improvement in consumer confidence. [Retailers and vendors] have to think more realistically about the fashion calender. They need to reprogram the calender closer to season with merchandise being sold closer to season, not two or three months in advance and then put it on sale in season. That’s insanity.”
Arnold Aronson, managing director of retail strategies at Kurt Salmon Associates: “It’s really a mix of defending your franchise by being conservative in intelligent administration of all of your overhead costs, as well as maintaining an offensive state of mind about increasing the top line that’s consistent with the strategic mission of your brand. The great ceo’s of companies will have to be very nimble and quick to balance these two areas of business. They have to be peripheral, not take too many risks, but it must be intelligent risk taking.”
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews