Retailers Rush to Fill Holiday Hole Left by Toys ‘R’ Us

After the collapse of Toys “R” Us, billions of dollars of holiday toy sales are up for grabs. Retailers are vying for a piece of the action.
WSJ.com: US Business

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Retailers Praise Pitti Uomo’s Good Vibrations

FLORENCE — Pitti Uomo: an increasingly influential men’s wear platform with good vibrations. That was the consensus of retailers attending the 94th edition of the fair, which wraps today.
But they were also in town for an appetizing lineup of shows, including Paul Surridge’s debut effort for Roberto Cavalli Men’s; the launch of Comme des Garçons offspring Fumito Ganryu’s namesake brand, and Craig Green who on Thursday night staged his first show outside the British capital, as the headlining guest designer. Tom Kalenderian, Barneys New York’s senior vice president and general merchandise manager, hailed the choice as “emblematic of the importance to focus on new ideas for the future of young men who will become our core consumers.”
Green himself on the morning of his show described the event as an “incredible” platform for designers. “There are buyers who have been buying my collections, but who have never yet been to one of my shows because they don’t come to London,” he said. “The reach of Pitti is so much bigger than anything we’ve done before.”
Among the reigning trends at Pitti Uomo, retailers said streetwear and fluro are both still very apparent, as is sustainability and outdoor-inspired activewear.
“The overall message is a stronger

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Retailers Praise Pitti Uomo’s Good Vibrations

FLORENCE — Pitti Uomo: an increasingly influential men’s wear platform with good vibrations. That was the consensus of retailers attending the 94th edition of the fair, which wraps today.
But they were also in town for an appetizing lineup of shows, including Paul Surridge’s debut effort for Roberto Cavalli Men’s; the launch of Comme des Garçons offspring Fumito Ganryu’s namesake brand, and Craig Green who on Thursday night staged his first show outside the British capital, as the headlining guest designer. Tom Kalenderian, Barneys New York’s senior vice president and general merchandise manager, hailed the choice as “emblematic of the importance to focus on new ideas for the future of young men who will become our core consumers.”
Green himself on the morning of his show described the event as an “incredible” platform for designers. “There are buyers who have been buying my collections, but who have never yet been to one of my shows because they don’t come to London,” he said. “The reach of Pitti is so much bigger than anything we’ve done before.”
Among the reigning trends at Pitti Uomo, retailers said streetwear and fluro are both still very apparent, as is sustainability and outdoor-inspired activewear.
“The overall message is a stronger

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St. James’s Retailers, Barbour International Take a Streetwear Turn at London Fashion Week Men’s

STREET SMARTS: Traditional men’s wear retailers from Jermyn Street, St. James’s took to the sidewalks of London for their fourth open-air show in a see-now-buy-now format during London Fashion Week Men’s.
New to the fashion week fixture were brands Paul & Shark, Aspinal of London and Grenson. The three brands joined seasoned labels Harvie & Hudson, John Smedley, Lock & Co. and Aquascutum in flexing their sartorial muscles.
The Jermyn Street retailers favored mustard yellow and cornflower blue separates. Bright, colored socks added a pop to traditional looks.

A look from the St. James’s spring 2019 show. 
Courtesy Photo

There were also streetwear staples in the mix, in the form of a camouflage-print windbreaker, a fishnet vest top and laid-back pieces such as cable-knit jumpers, gray track pants and basic T-shirts.
The see-now-buy-now presentation also saw female models dressed in men’s wear. One model wore a dark green slim-fit suit while another showed off a more summer-y look: Navy blue tailored shorts and a relaxed red pullover.
Later in the week, Barbour International showed off streetwear looks, too, incorporating elements from the brand’s classic Bedale jacket and T-shirts with retro-style brand logos.

Barbour International Men’s spring 2019. 
James Mason/WWD

A bright blue filmy jacket had a single-patch pocket that was swiped

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Retailers Saw Variety and Quality at Milan Fashion Week

MILAN — It wasn’t an easy week, with a packed show schedule, lots of rain and the so-called Beast from the East, or polar vortex, blowing into town on Sunday, bringing with it Arctic temperatures. Despite the inclement weather, buyers were buzzing about the variety and quality they found in Milan. “Milano, Milano, Milano — what an energizing week full of imagination, vision and creativity,” said Roopal Patel, Saks Fifth Avenue senior vice president, fashion director. “The collections at Milan Fashion Week continue to excite and delight our senses on every level.” She cited Gucci’s “theatrical Cyborg show,” Prada’s “high-energy industrial couture” and the Moncler Genius project as among the highlights.
The Eighties trend remained strong, as did oversize outerwear. Retailers cited tartans and animal patterns, neon and pop colors, logomania, sportswear influences, faux fur and quilted looks as some of the recurring elements in the collections. As Coco Chan, Stylebop.com head of women’s wear said, “the new mood is all about more is more. Pile on the layers with prints, patterns, textures and embellishments.”
Here, a roundup of the Milan highlights from the mouths of retailers:
Linda Fargo, senior vice president, women’s fashion director and store presentation at Bergdorf Goodman: 
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Prada, Gucci, Attico and Moncler.
TOP

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Retailers Bet Big at the Vegas Men’s Shows

LAS VEGAS — There are a lot of opportunities to capitalize on in the men’s market this year. While the industry tends to move more slowly than women’s, the continuing popularity of streetwear, heritage influences and technical fabrications are all understandable trends for the men’s shopper and are buoying the spirits of stores attending the Project, Liberty Fairs, Capsule and Agenda trade shows here this week.
Most men’s retailers are coming off a solid 2017 and believe that the fashion trends in the market will help them continue the momentum into this year.
As James Starke, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s for J.C. Penney, put it: “We had a good fourth quarter and are off to a good start in Q1. There’s a lot of newness in men’s and kids and we have a lot of new brands coming in, so we feel good for spring.”
Looking ahead to fall, Starke has similar optimism — albeit tempered with some caution.
“These shows have become a touch point for us and our suppliers,” he said. “They help validate what we’re doing for fall.”
Tom Ott, chief merchant for Saks Off 5th and Gilt, said he appreciated the shows, particularly Agenda and Liberty, for all the

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Survios to Open VR Arcade in Torrance, Partner With Theaters, Retailers on VR Pods

Los Angeles-based VR startup Survios is going places: The company plans to open its very own VR arcade in Torrance, California in the coming months, and use it as a testing ground for a much more ambitious retail roll-out. To power both, Survios has been developing VR pods the company internally calls Tesseracts, company representatives said […]

Variety

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U.K. Shoppers Shun Brick-and-Mortar Retailers on Boxing Day

LONDON — Selfridges and Harrods may have seen record numbers of shoppers gathering outside their stores ahead of the annual Boxing Day sales on Dec. 26, but many British brick-and-mortar retailers suffered on the first day of the post-Christmas sales season, due partly to the impact of Black Friday.
According to Springboard, which gathers footfall and consumer data, Britain’s High Street retailers witnessed “challenging trading” conditions on Dec. 26, with footfall decreasing 4.5 percent year-over-year. “This was one of the most challenging Boxing Days that brick-and-mortar stores have seen since Springboard first published Boxing Day activity in 2012,” the company said.
“This undoubtedly reflects the extent of discounting that has already occurred, particularly over Black Friday, and also the growth in online trade this year,” said Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard.
“In addition to this, Black Friday now rivals Boxing Day in terms of the volume of footfall generated and so its influence as a key trading day in the retail calendar has been diluted. The extent of discounting, together with the fact that stores still account for around 80 percent of total spend, and that activity in brick-and-mortar stores declined, suggests that sales will be lower this year on what was traditionally

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Retailers Offer Myriad Returns Options to Retain Customers

After a strong holiday shopping season, retailers are bracing for a flood of returns—and not just at the customer service counter.
WSJ.com: US Business

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Retailers’ Emails Are Misfires for Many Holiday Shoppers

Many retailers that were once data pioneers, with mailing lists and catalogs, now have fallen behind in the race to personalize digital messaging to consumers using purchase and browsing history.
WSJ.com: WSJD

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Retailers Kick Off the Holiday Season on Firmer Footing

Attention shoppers: Prices may not be as low this time around. Nevertheless, even as this year has proved one of the most challenging for retailers, analysts are predicting robust holiday sales.
WSJ.com: US Business

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Britain’s Fast-Fashion Retailers Head in Gender-Neutral Direction

BLURRING THE LINES: British brands and retailers are showing support for their customers beyond the traditional categories seen in retail. They are trying to promote inclusivity and avoid reinforcing gender stereotypes.
Topshop and Topman, which are housed under one roof at the Oxford Circus flagship, have made their fitting rooms gender-neutral. The high street retailer said its changing room policy is a reflection of the company’s commitment to inclusivity. A company spokeswoman said: “All Topshop and Topman customers are free to use any of the fitting rooms located within our stores.”
Meanwhile, Asos has teamed with GLAAD — an LGBTQIA organization — on a unisex collection. The eight-piece range consists of T-shirts, hoodies, totes and jewelry done in a rainbow motif and is available for purchase on Asos.com. Prices range from 8 pounds for a ring to 30 pounds for a hoodie, with part of the proceeds from each sale benefiting the LGBTQIA rights organization’s Together campaign. The high street e-tailer has also tapped the actor Tommy Dorfman from “13 Reasons Why,” the Netflix series about teenage suicide; Adam Eli, and Richie Shazam to star in the campaign.
Elsewhere, department stores have embraced the gender-neutral path and extended their unisex offerings. Last month, John Lewis said

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Retailers Divided Over Milan’s Shorter Length, but Praise Collections

MILAN — Retailers were divided about the shorter fashion week in Milan, but they agreed that creativity was strong and that designers generally delivered.
Bruce Pask, men’s fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman, said “despite the fact there are fewer shows here, it is still a schedule packed with appointments, showroom walk-throughs and certainly runway shows. Milan Fashion Week is incredibly important and fruitful for us at Goodman’s, always.”
Retro sports looks, including track suits; oversized silhouettes and baggy pants; layering; strong outerwear; a fresh summer color palette that included shades of pale pink; fluid shapes and fabrics, and streetwear references were some of the main trends praised by retailers.
Maud Tarena, director of men’s fashion at Le Bon Marché, said brands are “mixing up lighter and warmer outerwear together” in a seasonless way. “Thom Browne, for example, offered down jackets and swimwear in the same show [Moncler Gamme Bleu]. Even the weight of fabrics is very versatile,” said Tarena, whose favorite show was Prada. It was “energetic and exciting,” she said. Tarena, however, was frustrated by the limited number of shows in Milan and said there were “no strong discoveries, no surprises.” The store’s budget remained stable compared to last year, she said.
Tom Kalenderian,

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Gladson Selects Retailers for Italian Bespoke Tour

Gladson, the custom fabric division of HMS International and one of the largest producers of men’s fabrics in the U.S., has selected seven retailers for its Tour d’Italia prize.
The stores, who were chosen for their excellence in custom tailoring, will receive a trip to Italy to tour the country’s mills, bespoke tailoring houses and men’s luxury stores. The trip will include tours of Biella’s textile mills, a visit to Lake Como and Orta and a stop in Milan.
“Custom is the hottest category in men’s wear today,” said HMS International’s chief executive officer Michael “Mickey” Solomon. “By rewarding some of the most successful custom tailoring professionals in the U.S. with our unique Tour d’Italia we hope to foster an even greater appreciation of fine Italian fabrics, design, creativity and sustainability. Each of these aligns perfectly with our mission and our values.”
The winners are Ryan Douglas Hammonds of R. Douglas Custom Clothier, in Sacramento, Calif.; Nicholas Hansen of Nicholas Joseph Custom Tailors and Albert Karoll of Richard Bennett, both in Chicago; Leonard Logsdail of Leonard Logsdail in New York; Manuel Martinez of Martinez Custom Clothiers in Los Angeles; David Welch of B.Spoke, in Orange County, Calif., and Tyler McCoy, Ali Ryan and Julia

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Skies Slowly Brightening for Retailers Shopping Las Vegas Men’s Shows

LAS VEGAS — The fourth quarter wasn’t pretty for most retailers. Pre- and post-election angst, unrelenting price promotions, pressure from aggressive online players and a distracted consumer all contributed to a rough end to 2016.
But retailers aren’t about to roll over. To fight back, they’re scouring the market for new brands and hot trends that will move the needle. They’ve also learned that it’s not just about offering men the latest in ath-leisure or technical tailored clothing. Today’s customer is seeking unique experiences and merchandise with an authentic story that will allow them to create their own unique style — and make a statement.
Trade show operators are also shifting their focus in the face of this new reality.
Case in point: Aaron Levant, founder of Agenda, upped the ante on experiences at his trade show this season by featuring more cash-and-carry than ever before — Generation Cool, a vintage store based in Tucson, Ariz., set up a lively booth for shoppers. Levant also created an area where brands, some that don’t wholesale, were able to design their own booth. The space felt more like an art fair than a trade show.
“It’s about experiences and community,” said Levant, who last year helped

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Dallas Retailers Focus on Special Items

Facing intense competition both online and from major stores, specialty retailers shopped carefully for distinctive items, lifestyle togs, denim and jewelry at the trans-seasonal women’s market held Jan. 25 to 28 at the Dallas Market Center.
Orders were split about evenly between spring and summer deliveries and pre-fall and fall, according to sales agents. Buyers responded to a range of hues, from soft blush and peachy neutrals to earthy shades of green and blue and vivid prints.
“People are buying closer to need than they ever have,” said Tom Striegel, owner of Striegel Sales. “This is the first time I kept spring [samples] from my sportswear lines like Nic + Zoe and that was unheard of in the past.”
He described the show as “excellent,” led by stalwart Nic + Zoe and his debut of Liverpool jeans and Neon Buddha tops.
“Everyone wants to see something new, so anytime you have that it’s really good,” Striegel said.
Like last year, the market gained some traffic from the big Total Home & Gift show that ended the day before.
“Everyone is diversifying their mixes,” said sales agent Pam Kramer.
She did well with Vendula novelty handbags in the shape of a caravan trailer and a new line of neutral-hued jersey

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Retailers Face Multibillion-Dollar Earnings Hit Under GOP Tax Plan

A Republican proposal aimed at cutting tax rates and keeping jobs in the U.S. risks whacking the earnings of big U.S. retailers by driving up the cost of imported clothes, furniture and other goods.
WSJ.com: US Business

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Retailers Make Final Push to Lure Last-Minute Shoppers

Traditional retailers are pulling out all the stops to attract last-minute holiday shoppers in the final days before Christmas, even as Amazon.com steps up its own efforts to appeal to procrastinators.
WSJ.com: WSJD

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Retailers Make Final Push to Lure Last-Minute Shoppers

Traditional retailers are pulling out all the stops to attract last-minute holiday shoppers in the final days before Christmas, even as Amazon.com steps up its own efforts to appeal to procrastinators.
WSJ.com: US Business

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Retailers Push Early Start to Black Friday Sales

In the battle for shoppers, traditional retailers have been moving discounts earlier in November, linking their stores and websites more closely and finding ways to capitalize on the rise in mobile shopping.
WSJ.com: US Business

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More Retailers Are Choosing to Close on Thanksgiving Day

The decision to close is the latest evolution in the retail industry’s scramble to figure out how to compete in an increasingly complex shopping season.
Well

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‘Free’ Shipping Crowds Out Small Retailers

An increasing number of American consumers won’t buy products online from sellers who don’t offer free shipping, making it a strategic advantage for companies that can afford to provide it but straining small businesses.
WSJ.com: US Business

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Higher SG&A Costs Hitting Retailers

It’s time for retailers to trim payroll, turn the lights down and eliminate supply-chain inefficiencies.
Retailers are getting pummeled by higher selling, general and administrative costs, according to an analysis by WWD of publicly traded mass, off-price and specialty apparel companies. Of the 33 retailers analyzed, 18 posted higher SG&A-to-sales ratios in the most recent quarter over the prior year. By channel, 10 of those companies were specialty retailers such as Abercrombie & Fitch, New York & Company Inc., Urban Outfitters and Pacific Sunwear of California Inc.
Within the 18 retailers that showed higher SG&A to sales costs, nine posted changes of more than 100 basis points, which is a red flag to investors who prefer not to see triple-digit changes. More tolerable increases would be between 10 and 50 basis points.
SG&A line items include things such as employee payroll and pensions as well as commissions. Other items include utilities, rent and insurance as well as general maintenance costs. Marketing costs are also included in SG&A line items. All of these items differ from “cost of goods sold,” which are the direct, attributable costs related to selling (or making) a product.
From an investor’s perspective, SG&A-to-sales ratios reveal how effectively a retailer uses

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Retailers Remain Upbeat About Fall

Optimism reigned as the activewear trend continued to dominate, while tailoring and casualwear also starred.

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