ATLANTA — Contemporary and classic looks topped the shopping lists of men’s wear retailers at The Cobb Show, held July 24 and 25 at the Cobb Galleria here.

This story first appeared in the July 28, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Traffic was slow at the show, which exhibitors attributed to retailers that are struggling and reluctant to add new inventory. The number of exhibitors was down, too. The Cobb Show is putting more emphasis on contemporary lines, as well as skate couture brands.

Michael Summers, Southeast sales representative for English Laundry and a member of The Cobb Show’s board of directors, said, “The transition from urban to streetwear and contemporary has been a slow process in the Southeast, but the buyers who have made it are doing business because they’re paying attention to trends.”

New lines at the show included Two in the Shirt, Creative Recreation, Isaac B, Month of Sundays, Fusai, Clae, Rush Couture, Sebago and Deco Denim.

Retailers were shopping mostly for back-to-school immediates and fall. John Suh, owner of Attach, Atlanta, bought khaki pants and cargo shorts, as well as denim, but said he’s cutting back on denim by about 5 percent because the category has been slow. He also shopped for short-sleeve T-shirts (mostly graphics), as well as denim jackets and chambray shirts, which are strong. For holiday, he ordered peacoats.

Suh said his business this summer has been slow but steady and he’s expecting an uptick in the fall.

Jamal Reynolds, owner of Hits in Fayetteville, N.C., booked cardigans, plaid shirts, slim jeans, graphic T-shirts, and cargo shorts for bts and fall. However, he said he wasn’t booking much at the show because he didn’t see as many vendors as he has in the past.

Reynolds said his sales are up about 25 percent this summer because he moved his store to a new location that is attracting new customers and walk-in traffic. As a result, he increased his open-to-buy by 10 percent.

Sammy Dabbous, owner, Urban Nation, Lexington, Ky., planned to book some bts, half of his holiday buy and 25 percent of spring. He was also looking for contemporary and streetwear in jeans, T-shirts, jackets, cardigans and vests from A Tiziano, Rolling Paper, Parish, New Era, and others. Dabbous, who described his business as slow but steady this summer, was also cutting back on urban looks.

Kwassi Byll-Cataria, co-owner, Moda 404, Atlanta, shopped for bts and fall, and focused on sweaters, lightweight jackets, footwear, patterned shirts (stripes and paisleys in bold colors), and jeans from Envy, Sabit, English Laundry, Rocksmith and other brands with a contemporary, fashion-forward look.

“Everything is slimmer now,” he said, adding that he’s increasing his inventory by 40 percent in contemporary and streetwear.

Sales this summer are up substantially because he’s buying smarter, he said. “We understand our clientele, and we’re turning inventory quicker.”

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