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Holiday Sales Buoy Hopes For Spring

NEW YORK -- Reports of strong holiday sales at the store level, and some good early spring orders, are giving accessories designers and manufacturers here reason to be optimistic about spring and summer sales.<BR><BR>Most vendors cite naturals and...

NEW YORK — Reports of strong holiday sales at the store level, and some good early spring orders, are giving accessories designers and manufacturers here reason to be optimistic about spring and summer sales.

Most vendors cite naturals and silver as the strongest trends for late spring and summer.

Sherie Christmas, president and co-owner of Maxx, New York, a handbag maker, projects gains of 20 to 25 percent, citing strong sales in November and December, which she hopes will continue in the January market.

“We had a very good November, and have already gotten reorders on the early spring groups that were just delivered,” said Christmas.

She also said that the firm has focused on a variety of takes on naturals, with totes and backpacks the most popular styles.

Victoria Andreozzi and Karen Erickson, partners at Showroom Seven, an accessories sales representative, said based on retailer reports and the number of appointments the showroom has scheduled, they anticipate a strong week.

“We usually do the majority of our business at the Circuit,” said Andreozzi. “But for this market, we’ve increased our staff at the showroom too.”

Erickson said that because so many buyers placed early orders, many of the firm’s collections are already sold out for spring, making this week a summer market.

“In addition to lowering prices on a portion of the collection, we’re also launching a sterling silver line, priced at $18 to $70, and will continue to offer our regular line, which is from $12 to $32,” said Rokoff, “That way, our customers have a wider variety to choose from.”

Craig Chorney, designer and sales manager for Le Jon belts, said he expects the January market to continue to be tough for belts, since fashion is so loose and fluid.

“To make products that address the current fashion looks and still service the belt customer, I’ve done contour, hip-slung, shotgun and loose silhouettes,” said Chorney.

He believes that price, texture and unusual types of leather will drive business for spring. As a result, he’s added textured leather, a pigskin and cork mix, a washed metallic croco print, and embossed and basket-woven leathers.

The major accessories trade shows will be running this week, as well, and should provide buyers with additional resources to fill their assortments.

Millie Clark Lewis, sales and fashion director for the Fashion Accessories Expo, which runs from Wednesday to Friday at Piers 90 and 92, said the show’s 55 new exhibitors, including Frank Olive hats, Margaret Sullivan scarves, and Brahmin handbags, should attract attention from retailers.

“These new companies, some of which haven’t participated in trade shows, will be spread throughout the show,” said Lewis.

ENK Productions, which produces the Accessorie Circuit, which goes from today through Wednesday at the Plaza Hotel, will have 32 new exhibitors, including Beth Levine handbags, Lalique jewelry and scarves and Dinny Hall, a London jewelry resource.