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DALLAS — Though business picked up in November and December, most buyers kept budgets flat at the four-day market that ended Jan. 30 at the Dallas Market Center.

 

Buyers filled in spring, placed summer and scouted early fall at the show, which traditionally accents jewelry and accessories and is one of the slowest of the center’s five annual markets.

 

“People are very cautious and buying close to need,” said Alan Geller, president of sales at Julia Jordan dress company. “What everyone seems to want is A.M.-P.M. dressing.”

 

Mary Stone, owner of Joni’s in Plano, Tex., said her business was “great,” but she planned to reorder hot items instead of increasing her buy.

 

“I can get reorders from Joseph Ribkoff, Finley, Isda, People Like Frank and Alberto Makali, and I doubled up on XCVI’s drawstring shorts because they sold out last spring,” she said.

 

Jennifer Myers, buyer for Halls in Kansas City, Mo., said, “We’re seeing an improvement in designer ready-to-wear and handbags.”

 

Rebecca Butler, owner of Love in Baton Rouge, La., noted that she just had her best year ever, but she also planned to reorder instead of increasing her budget. Love specializes in contemporary tops and everyday dressing priced under $100, such as looks by Red Haute, Shae and Pete.

 

“I don’t want to be sitting with a store full of stuff — I’d like to reorder,” she said.

 

Alicia Lee Nolte, owner of Cherry Hill & Co. in Longview, Tex., increased her buy 20 percent because she’s moving into a bigger space in a former fire station.

 

“I’m being smarter and more aware of who my customer is and what she needs and not just picking up pretty things because they’re in style,” said Nolte, who has been in business 15 years. “They want something they can wear to multiple things.”

 

Aiming for the luxe crowd, Lori Veith Sales introduced Paulo Bentini python and leather bags wholesaling from $200 to $810. Paul Sutton, a principal at the showroom, said high-end stores were looking at early fall goods because waiting was risky.

 

“They’re understanding that manufacturers can’t stock any more, and if they don’t buy it early they don’t get the best pick,” he said.


KEY TRENDS:

• Mesh, lace, knit and peasant tops.

• Flowing tunics, dresses and patio dresses.

• Floral prints.

• Wide-leg jeans.

• Shaded python and woven leather handbags.

• Wrap, beaded and bangle bracelets.

• Pendant necklaces.

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