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ATLANTA — With the U.S. economy on a downturn, AmericasMart has something to capitalize on: It is the only permanent apparel marketplace in the country with an area dedicated to the growing young contemporary segment.
This story first appeared in the December 3, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“It’s a quickly emerging facet of the apparel industry that enhances the premium contemporary market rather than competes with it,” said Lawton Hall, senior vice president of leasing for AmericasMart’s Building 3. “Less expensive but just as fashion-savvy, the young contemporary business is thriving as more retailers carry both the premium and young contemporary product mix in their stores.”
AmericasMart Apparel has dedicated a new area to the YC marketplace on the 12th floor and several new showrooms will open for the Jan. 24 to 27 Atlanta Apparel & Accessories Markets.
“These new showrooms will add to the product mix already in permanent showrooms, which include Michael & Paula Hyman [featuring lines such as Free People, Tulle and Colcci] and Lisa Adams, who carries the line Miss Me,” he added.
As consumers continue to spend less, retailers are seeking fast-fashion lines that fall within moderate to low price points. AmericasMart’s permanent exhibitors are offering for January in-season immediates, making it more convenient for buyers to replenish their racks.
On the fashion accessories side are new and expanded showrooms for both the January apparel market and the January gift and home furnishings market. Fashion accessories are always in high demand at AmericasMart — with crossover buyers from apparel boutiques as well as gift stores.
Crossover buying is happening on the youth front as well. AmericasMart’s Children’s World merges the juvenile products, gifts and children’s apparel industries with more than 30,000 square feet of juvenile-products showrooms leased in the past two years. By having all categories of children’s products located on one floor, AmericasMart plans to expand this business to an additional 75,000 square feet on the 14th floor in 2009.
Contemporary men’s is also a growing presence at AmericasMart, with the industry gaining in both temporary showrooms in the Premiere section and in permanent space on floors 9 and 12. In addition, the Alpha temporary area will be showcased on the 12th floor near the permanent showrooms.
Anticipating concerns about the economy, an AmericasMart representative noted the opening of several new downtown Atlanta hotels in 2009, which eliminates the need for taxis and puts the convention hall within walking distance of more than 13,000 hotel rooms. The AmericasMart travel services program also offers retailers and exhibitors discounted airfare and hotel rooms.
In addition, buyers now have the opportunity to preview exhibitors’ products through the AmericasMart Web site’s “virtual storefronts.” These exhibitor Web pages — including special occasion apparel, fashion accessories, jewelry and children’s wear — feature resources including product line photos, contact information and company contacts. Several temporary exhibitors also set up virtual storefronts for each market and list their location within the AmericasMart complex.
The apparel markets will also run at AmericasMart March 28 to 31.