NEW YORK — Even in these challenging times, with comparable-store sales and quarterly profits suffering and heightened economic and political uncertainty, a group of apparel executives said success is still achievable by staying true to core...
NEW YORK — Even in these challenging times, with comparable-store sales and quarterly profits suffering and heightened economic and political uncertainty, a group of apparel executives said success is still achievable by staying true to core strengths, but being nimble enough to adapt to today’s realities.
"Decisions made today in this new climate could bring success in tough times," Joyce Brown, president of the Fashion Institute of Technology, said at the start of the three-hour "Success in Tough Times" conference, held Wednesday at FIT.
Generally conservative in their outlooks for the rest of the year, executives from Jones Apparel Group, Diesel USA, Federated Merchandising Group and Reebok International prescribed tough medicine for the ailing industry. They offered various strategies — including better customer service, increased marketing and product differentiation — to win market share.
Outlining four key strategies for 2002, Janet Grove, chairman and chief executive officer of Federated Merchandising Group, said, "championing change is the priority." She said further editing and narrowing its assortments, improving the shopping experience with better fitting rooms, enhancing signage, centralizing checkouts, simplifying pricing and fine-tuning marketing strategies should help the department store chain become more competitive for its time-starved customers seeking ease and speed.
Another avenue for Federated to drive sales, Grove said, is to offer newness within its private branded business, which is expected to generate 16 percent of its total volume this year.
Peter Boneparth, ceo of Jones, said retailers need to focus on inventory turnover and not inventory-building to ring up more sales with fewer customers. "Take what you are good at, but make it better," he said.
Boneparth said Jones has the advantage of its size, product diversity and brand recognition to help it continue to grow, noting the debut of its Easy Spirit casual apparel line for fall. Boneparth said he believes Jones, which acquired LEI and Gloria Vanderbilt this year, still has opportunities in the discount and younger channels to further diversify and balance the New York-based apparel giant. (For more on Jones, see page 9.)
While Federated and Jones have a storied history and have proven themselves resilient in difficult times, new players to the industry face a more daunting challenge. Emanuel Weintraub, a retail consultant, said because of this ultracompetitive environment, his firm predicts that "within five years time, 25 percent of firms doing less than $200 million in volume will either merge or liquidate.Obviously not wanting his jeans company to fall into that category, Andreas Kurz, ceo of Diesel USA, said his advice for retailers trying to keep afloat during these choppy times is concentrate on their company’s strengths.
"We are in an emotional business," he said. "Help people out of their misery and give them a reason to buy."
Other remedies, he said, include offering fresh and innovative merchandise rather than back-to-basics, and increasing advertising.
"Business in tough times is the same as business in good times," Kurz said. "Business is never not tough."
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
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