NEW YORK -- The reports of the demise of the junior market are greatly exaggerated, according to Ady Gluck-Frankel.
As president of Necessary Objects, a company with an estimated $60 million in wholesale volume, Gluck-Frankel thinks the market is poised for explosive growth over the next year, despite the shrinking number of retailers who carry what she refers to as "young contemporary."
She's predicting a significant increase in 1994, but declined to give an exact percentage.
"Our business is on a growth pattern, and I really believe it's consumer-generated. Our market is in the same position as children's was seven years ago," she said, referring to the age group now entering adolescence.
But Gluck-Frankel feels the consumer base for her clothes isn't limited to young women. With its weekly shipments of cutting-edge clothes, Necessary Objects is aiming at all women who want a new look but don't want to spend a lot of money. Styles wholesale from $9.75 to $38.75.
"At the risk of quoting a cliche, you don't have to have a lot of money to be fashionable," Gluck-Frankel said. "Clothes should help us fulfill some fantasy about ourselves. Why can't you buy pieces the way you buy shoes, where you know you're only going to wear them for one season?"
For retailers who are still working the junior market, business is going to be "phenomenal," she predicts -- but there still remains a lot to be changed.
"The reality is, we get the worst space on the floor, and the least amount of salespeople, but we're expected to perform at incredible margins and incredible terms," she said. "Our departments' gross margins are, on average, 6 to 8 percent higher than misses'."
The situation can be even worse in branch stores, she said, depending on each store's manager.
Retailers doing juniors well, according to Gluck-Frankel, include Bloomingdale's, the Los Angeles-based chain Contempo Casuals, Urban Outfitters, Macy's, Nordstrom and Strawbridge & Clothier.
Gluck-Frankel cited Kal Ruttenstein, Bloomingdale's senior vice president of fashion direction, as a retail executive who "makes things happen."
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