NEW YORK — As retailers continue their efforts to minimize risks by keeping lower inventories and buying closer to season, vendors are reacting with tighter, but not necessarily basic, collections, according to ready-to-wear firms at the recent round of hotel trade shows in New York.

Vendors also said the pressures from buyers, the rocky stock market and uncertainty about a war in Iraq are keeping them on their toes. Some said the stress makes them work harder and turn out more creative collections, as many ventured outside their regular design realm.

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