NEW YORK — While most jeans vendors reported a rise in first-half sales, they agreed that a big question concerning second-half business will be retail inventories.
As is common during down economic times, many retailers last year cut their stock levels dramatically, leaving them with less inventory than they wanted coming into the spring season. They’ve now rebuilt inventories for back-to-school selling and the question becomes whether b-t-s sales will meet their expectations.
"We were extremely concerned and conservative with our plans for the year," said John Kourakos, president of sportswear at the Warnaco Group, which produces the Calvin Klein brand. "There was a minimal inventory level at wholesale and retail, and there has been a nice spike in this area at retail. We’re chasing business.
"At first, I thought there was concern that it was just purely pipeline filling. But for our business, it was some pipe filling, but more filling of retail response to good sell-throughs."
Jeans vendors have worked at cutting down their stock levels. At the end of May, Levi Strauss & Co.’s inventories stood at $673.5 million of goods, down 13.6 percent from a year ago. At the end of March, VF Corp.’s were at $832.7 million, down 27 percent from a year earlier.
Phil Marineau, Levi’s president and chief executive officer, said store comfort levels with current inventory vary widely.
"It’s highly differentiated by retailers," he said. "In general, relative to our retailers and our business, I think they feel very comfortable with where they’re at. As we go into back-to-school and holiday, we remain committed to the type of inventory levels we need to accomplish our objectives."
VF’s chairman and ceo, Mackey McDonald, said a key strategy for the rest of the year will be keeping stock levels lean.
"That’s what you have to do in this environment," he said. "Cut your costs and lower your inventories and really get yourself prepared."
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
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“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia