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."
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye