Cheryl Nowak’s – Big Apple diary
Most U.S. economists believe that retail sales will be flat to modest increases of 2 to 3% once all the final numbers are tallied. In fact once you add in gift card sales which rose 8.1% over last year plus holiday shopping on line spending by consumers for the Holiday ‘ 04 season is actually higher than last year.
Retail sales rose 4.3% over last year in the week that ended December 25 according to the trade group International Council of Shopping Centers. That was a significant improvement over the first three weeks of December when disappointing results frightened some retailers who reacted by slashing prices to lure customers into their stores. Based on history it is now typical to see some weak spots in the weeks before Christmas since the season now stretches out from early in November into January. The customer does not feel as pressured to do all their shopping in the two to three weeks before December 25….an extended shopping season that is certain to boost the bottom line. Overall retailers are expected to come out just fine.
So I am sure you want to know the big winners of the season….. I am happy to report that most were called out in this Diary over the past few weeks;
– Gift cards were the Christmas seasons #1 winners and certainly will contribute to post Christmas sales volume as shoppers are eager to redeem them and take advantage of clearances that will continue into February.
In Ladies Apparel luxury retailers like Neiman Marcus, Nordstoms and Barneys lead the pack as the clear winners .
Key item wise the best sellers of the season were;
– High end handbags driven by color, metallic and exotic skins whether real or fake from Prada, Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, Donna Karan, Juicy Couture and the house check saddle bag from Burberry & the fascination with Louis Vuitton continues.
– Better jewelry driven by diamonds
– Brooches at all price points in crystal, hematite black diamonds,colored stones like greens, citrines & browns plus faux coral from Kenneth Jay Lane, R.J. Graziano , White House /Black Market
– Ponchos in sweater knits, shearling
– Cashmere sweaters driven by promotional private label programs at JC Penney, Kohls, Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor, Macys and
fresh new novelty styles which sold at regular price at Banana Republic, Talbots & resort brights at Polo / Ralph Lauren, bed jackets from Dana Buchman, embellished cardigans from Sigrid Olsen.
– Boots especially fur trimmed and shearlings from Ugg , lots of Ugg copies at every price, DKNY
– Denim product in cropped jackets and jean bodies from Seven, Levi, Lucky, Diesel, Guess
– Contemporary sportswear from Barneys, Laundry, Juicy Couture velour track suits
– Fur ( real & faux) trimmed anything….sweaters, accessories, ponchos, boots
– Velvet blazers some trimmed with rhinestone brooches or buttons from Laundry, H&M, Inc, Ann Taylor, GAP & Old Navy
– Color drove business in apparel and accessories with pink, lavender and green as the big winners
– Embellished apparel and accessories especially handbags and sequined scarfs at Gap
Consumer interest in Electronic items were also drove sales with techy gadgets du jour;
– Plasma and LCD flat panel TV’s
– Digital cameras from Canon
– iPods and other MP3 players from Apple
Fragrance as usual was important for Holiday with celebrity newcomers boosting sales from Britney Spears “Curious” perfume and Donald Trump “the fragrance” for men.
As a last note … the most encouraging news comes from successful sales of early Spring ‘ 05 deliveries from better and contemporary resources so the Happy New Year looks to continue at retail !!!
Wishing all of you a Happy 2005,