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Cheryl Nowaks – Big Apple diary



HI All,

The key to retail success this season will most certainly be to maximize sales but other initiatives include making inventory productive by keeping pace with the ever changing needs of a broader customer base.This year growth lies with two distinctive customer segments; the younger customer and the better customer.  The trick has always been to provide the right degree of the right product at the right time in the right place at the right price. Easier said then done but it is the plan that retailers today must aspire to in order to increase sales & speed up stock turn.

Retailers have taken a cautious approach and are taking no chances. There is increased store visibility via TV, store catalogs & magazine advertising campaigns touting their particular store as the “Gift Headquarters”.
In fact this is the luxest season in ages with lots of luxury fabrics, sparkle & bling!!!

Most notable ad campaigns this season appeal to all customer types at every price level;
GAP...”How do you wear it …How do you share it?”
American Eagle Outfitters…”Good friends – Good Times – Great Gifts”
Macys.…”What are you giving – way to shop”
Banana Republic...”Happy Giving – From:You To: the Ones You Love”
Ann Taylor...” I am Gifted – Giving …Ann Makes it Easy”.
Saks. 5th Ave..“The Gift” catalog which is 250 pages of limited edition gifts featuring fresh design talent from FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) A really brilliant idea to showcase up & coming design talent.







So what are the most wanted gifts for Holiday 2004 ..how do you give the luxe & bling….keep reading……

Cashmere sweaters & accessories: hats, gloves,mufflers- this category was highly successful last Christmas so naturally every store has pumped up the selections with particular emphasis on their Private label product in 2 ply cashmere to offer luxury at a price.
Good news is that at least style selections have been expanded so you have a choice of the classic sweater set , turtlenecks and crews but newest update/contemporary bodies include off the shoulder, shrugs, hoodies, tie fronts,wraps, fashion cardigans, ponchos and lots of cable knits.

This past week stores like Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor, Macys, Ann Taylor & even TJ Max have started to promote their cashmere programs at $49.99 – $ 169.99 as they are taking no chances. However specialty retailers like Banana Republic & Talbots are very brave with newly arrived selections of fashion cashmere styles at regular price.

Fabulous Fur both faux & real dominate accessory must haves –  fox or mink neckpieces, collars,& wraps…throw them over your cashmere sweater!!!, rabbit capelets & boleros, trimmed / reversible puffer vests, shearling ponchos,”nanook” fur lined boots in shearling & Mongolian lamb trims, handbags in leopard print ,shearling & rabbit, suede shearling mules/clogs, trimmed gloves & mittens.

Sequins  the #1 bling –  embellished sweaters, embellished boucle ladycoats, A-line or bias skirts,scarfs, framed clutch handbags, georgette or satin dresses & mesh tank tops

Fashion watches can build a wardrobe from $40 – $145 retail – another very successful category from last Christmas has even more choices this year…cocktail watches with real diamonds or Swarovski crystals, embellished faces with pearls & color stones, tie dye lizard bands, embossed alligator leather bands. Leather bands are in fabulous mid tones & brights.

Shiny fabrics in satin, silk charmeuse & brocade – lingerie tank tops, A line or asymmetrical skirts, the shift dress, brocade re-incarnated with a touch of stretch in sheath dresses, jackets & lady coats,  satin & brocade handbags in delicate evening bags, cargo & hobo styles

# 1 featured bling item is a Brooch…especially those that are vintage in feeling. This is featured at every price point so it is very affordable & amazingly enough all customers understand the concept. Pearl clusters, Swarovski crystals, semi precious & fake colored stones, the “bee pin”, star burst patterns, Western inspired turquoise stones ( go forward even stronger for Spring’ 05)

Of course as of this week there are categories that offer a gift purchase at a permanent markdown already ……
– Outerwear which traditionally is marked down in mid October has taken yet one more hit at 25-40% off

– 1st Fall Clearance of  Designer / Bridge sportswear at 50-65% off at Lord & Taylor, Macys, Bloomingdales- labels include: Ellen Tracy, Calvin Klein, DKNY / Donna Karan, Dana Buchman , Ann Klein

Well that’s it for now .. I am ready to scourer the stores for the “must have” Christmas gifts for family & friends but there are so many temptations out there that I can’t help sneaking in a few “personals” for myself.

Until next week,

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