NEW YORK — There’s no snowfall to speak of — yet — but that hasn’t inhibited shoppers in the Northeast from buying down jackets and ski-inspired looks.
Lightweight and practical, these options have become everyday staples for city dwellers who have no immediate plans to hit the slopes. Consumers’ fervent interest in down jackets continues even though they have been popular for the past few winters.
Wool coats, an area that has lagged in recent seasons, are rebounding, driven partially by fur-trimmed items, stores said.
At Bloomingdale’s, there’s been a move to more ladylike styles such as fur-trimmed coats, “good, Republican cloth coats” and swing coats, according to Kal Ruttenstein, senior vice president for fashion direction. Max Mara is a best-selling label, especially for alpaca and other wools, he said.
Puffer or down coats also are doing well at Bloomingdale’s, partially because they’re lightweight and also due to the fact that people are used to them, Ruttenstein said. Ski or active styles from Moncler, Bogner and Burberry are gaining steam, as well.
Fashion magazines might clue in consumers to basic trends such as fur-trimmed items, but for the most part, outerwear options take some self-evaluation. “What they’re really doing is going to the coat department to look at the various categories. I don’t think they get a lot of direction on coats,” Ruttenstein observed.
Down jackets also are fueling sales at Burlington Coat Factory, the 360-store chain headquartered in Burlington, N.J. This category has been a winner for several winter seasons, but this year, the retailer is offering them in a lot more colors. That has resulted in “an important boost” in fall business, even though cold weather has yet to hit, said Monroe Milstein, president and chief executive officer of Burlington Coat Factory.
Retail prices range from $59 to $100, and Bubblegum and Donnybrook are two key brands, he noted.
“They are in beautiful colors and styles. They’re lightweight, very warm and easy to care for — just throw them in the washing machine,” Milstein said. “We’re selling them in all areas of the country. Usually, they sell when it gets colder in the Northeast and the Midwest.”
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