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Strong Trends Lead to Solid Ordering in Dallas

Still holding off on fall, stores buy briskly for spring and summer.

DALLAS — Retailers prioritized accessories, flowing tops, novelty jeans and dresses for immediate delivery through June at the four-day market that ended Jan. 27 at the Dallas Market Center. Citing respectable gains in the fourth quarter, some buyers planned slight increases in their budgets.

“We did within 2 percent of what we did last year and as a freak had exactly the same number of appointments,” said Harold Wilson, who shows 15 sportswear resources, including Byron Lars. “The difference in attitude was that the stores were not prepared to place fall yet. But we sold more 4/30 and 5/30 deliveries.”

The Johnny Was showroom, which displays the company’s seven sportswear lines, wrote about the same dollar amount as last year for May and June deliveries, according to regional sales manager Melanie Jennings.

“I was happy with that because we had an amazing market last year,” Jennings said.

Bookings ticked up slightly at Seven Threads, which sells Big Star denim and Press dresses, according to co-owner Christina Runnels.

“Retailers are a little more confident in placing orders and we’re not seeing as many notes left,” Runnels said. “They are buying a lot of novelty treatments — overdyed and color-coated denim and laser treatments that burn a pattern into denim and corduroy.”

Tracy Holden, co-owner of the StyleLounge contemporary showroom, said business was better than she expected, especially for Leatherock embellished belts and GiGi python-embossed leather bags.

“I’m having a really good show and picking up new accounts — maybe because there are a lot of buyers here for the Western show,” she said.

Holly Tuten, director of retail at the luxury Houstonian Hotel, Club and Spa in Houston, budgeted a 5 to 6 percent increase for the 4,800-square-foot store dominated by women’s merchandise. Among her buys: Elan tissue burnout tops, Diana Dubin vintage coin jewelry, Cut n’ Paste suede fringed bags and colorful printed activewear by Sweat and Alo.

“Spring is big for us because we are a resort and my customer has worked hard all winter and is pretty fit, but January has not been great because of the [cold] weather,” she noted. “My fastest growing area is gifts.”

Gretchen Richards and Kristin Ernst, owners of Grove Hill boutique in San Antonio, shopped for accessories and bright tops by Tolani, Finley and Johnny Was to pair with skinny jeans.

“Our customers come in all the time for tops,” Richards said. “Color is important.”

Denim-friendly tops were also popular in The Territory, the year-old area of Western-themed showrooms.
Selina Pena, owner of Ranch at the Rim in San Antonio, ordered immediate and fall deliveries of fashion tops by Pat Dahnke, Double D Ranch and Tasha Polizzi.

“We’re increasing [our buy] cautiously,” Pena said. “We try to carry items that are made in Texas and are more elegant than you find in a Western store.”

With 2 percent more to spend, Jaclyn Kerr shopped for accessories and clothing retailing under $200 for The Coop, a fashion and active boutique at the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas.

“We used to be 80 percent activewear, but we are reopening in a new space in April and now we’ll be 80 percent fashion,” Kerr said.

Cindy Morris, chief operating officer of the DMC, said attendance was up and energy was positive at the show.

“Young contemporary had one of their strongest shows to date,” Morris said. “We’re optimistic that a solid January market signals an uptick in business for the remainder of the year.”