BUYING BUDGETS SLIGHTLY HIGHER AS EXPANDED WWDMAGIC OPENS
LAS VEGAS — WWDMagic got off to a brisk start Tuesday, as retailers shopped for immediate, summer and fall goods, in five pavilions adjacent to MAGIC men’s show at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
The newly expanded women’s show houses 832 companies in 1,500 booths, compared with 600 companies and 1,148 booths last August.
A big issue at the show was price, which manufacturers have tried to control, even as more expensive, textured fabrics gain popularity. Meanwhile, they were delivering up a lot of fashion as well.
The junior and contemporary markets spotlighted romantic looks in laces and lingerie-inspired pieces, as well as embroidered treatments, knits and ethnic adaptations in jacquards and silks. The boot-cut and wide-leg silhouettes also maintained their place in most lines.
Pam Poe, a market specialist for Frederick Atkins California, researched the junior denim and swimwear markets for such stores at Gottschalks, Dillard, Liberty House and Bon-Ton.
Wide legs, flares and bell-bottoms with details were important for the transition into fall, she said. Corduroy treatments, such as burnouts and plaid prints, also prevailed.
Though the show fell in between the major swimwear seasons, Poe said that boy-leg bottoms and triangle tops were key. “People are going away from the padded enhancers and into more natural looks,” she said of junior swimwear. Among the strong junior swimwear performers, Poe singled out Beach Lingo, Ocean Pacific and Manhattan Beachwear.
Overall, buyers were optimistic about business, which translated into at least slightly larger budgets, compared with the show a year ago.
Tiffani Roberts, director of merchandising for Spike’s Joint stores, said Spike Lee will concentrate on the East Coast and plans to open more stores soon. The company recently closed its Los Angeles store, but still operates one in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Roberts said the store, which concentrated on men’s wear in the past, is expanding its women’s area, and Roberts said her open-to-buy was larger, with approximately $40,000 for women’s wear.
She said she was looking for basics and placed an order with Rampage, which had “great stretch pants.”
Shopping wholesale prices ranging from $10 to $30, Roberts said some trends were the boot-cut pant, body-fitting jackets and knit jerseys.
Lisa Robinson, owner of Robinson in Wenatchee, Wash., said her budget was about the same as last year. Business has been spotty for the store, although January was strong, she said. She shopped for dresses and shorts for fall and had placed an order with Faraway for dresses.
Jeff Manias, owner of Manias in Roselle Park, N.J., walked the show with his daughter, Lori Manias, who is a buyer for the store. They were looking for immediate merchandise for their junior and young men’s boutique, with an eye out for hip-huggers, boot-leg pants, flares and narrow, straight legs. Popular tops included baby T’s and sweaters with texture.
Reflecting on the new pavilion format and remerchandised areas, exhibitors said they were expecting more walk-by traffic and orders.
Gregg Fiene, co-owner of Lola Inc., the maker of the XOXO line, said that he was anticipating a good show. He had nine new booths for his licensees, in addition to his core lines, bringing the total to 20.
“It is open, clear and airy in here, and there is a good mix of exhibitors,” he said.
Bestsellers in his line included sheers, embroideries and “anything knit and feminine.”
Nicole Murray, head designer of Dollhouse, a division of Jou Jou Inc., said the company was showing a transitional group, which included embroidered lace halter and tank dresses at $30 wholesale, as well as bra-strap lace dresses and a Chinese-inspired group of jacquard pants and halters, wholesaling for $39.
“We are definitely going super-girly,” Murray said.
Stacy Bolnar, vice president of sales for Hourglass, said that the one-year-old company is doing well with novelty fabrics. The firm exhibited at the August show and did about $100,000, which Bonar expected to exceed at this edition.