The November market is typically a tricky one, as retailers prepare for the Christmas selling season, and vendors evaluate what their hits and misses were during the year.
Next week's market is no exception, but there's a heightened sense of uncertainty among manufacturers. The reason is that apparel sales, including innerwear, have generally been soft over the past several months. Some blame it on unseasonably warm weather, while others cite the volatile financial markets.
Designer Flora Nikrooz at The Age Group, assessing the upcoming market, said, "My philosophy is no matter what the talk is about excess inventory, we know this inventory will eventually be gone. The name of the game right now is items, and as long as we have interesting items, we'll have a good holiday."
Nevertheless, brands that have been performing well at retail are optimistic over the market week, where executives will be reviewing spring and summer buys, evaluating marketing, advertising and promotional strategies, and getting a preview of spring.
Seth Morris, president of The Carole Hochman Design Group, said, "Historically, November has always been a tricky market. We are sitting in the calm before the storm, before the holiday season begins. Everybody's minds are on what's going on at stores right now compounded by unseasonable weather over the past three weeks. If business doesn't pick up, retailers will come in a little bit on edge."
John Bowman, president of Dana-co, maker of the licensed bras by Natori, Josie and Josie Natori, said, "I'm very optimistic about this market. It will be the second market with the Josie [bra] brand and sell-throughs of Natori bras have been strong at retail. Our calender is pretty full."
Michael Herman, vice president of sales and merchandising at Natori Co., said, "For us, this will be a strategic market. We'll be talking concepts with retailers, and will be discussing marketing and advertising strategies for spring 2008. We'll also be discussing concepts for fall 2009."
Bob Vitale, vice president of sales and merchandising at Wacoal America, which includes the Wacoal and licensed DKNY Underwear and Donna Karan Intimates brands, said, "November is a major market for us and we expect a very good market. We'll be previewing fall for [June 20] to [September 20] deliveries and go over recolors for the season."
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