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Big Apple Diary 3/10/09


Hi All,





Drum roll please, as the February'09 comparable sales scorecard for US apparel retailers is revealed. Decreases thawed slightly from prior months, were not as dismal as January and in some cases better than Wall Street had anticipated. Analysts are preaching "reality check" as they warn investors not to think that this improvement signals a turnaround in consumer spending. Americans continue to down shift from the nation of "big spenders" to a nation of "savers" which in itself is an over reaction that continues to negatively impact retail sales.



The Winners remained consistent in their standings of the last 2 months….


Wal-Mart continues to thrive during the recession as it outpaced Wall St expectations by more than double ending the month at +5.1%

This company has benefitted from the slumping sales at competitors as consumers trade down and engage in bargain hutting with a focus on groceries, health products & other necessities.


Health and Beauty



The Buckle again remained high above its peers in the teen retailer arena at +21% as it also beat Wall St predictions. Amazingly, this company has posted double-digit same store sales growth for 19 consecutive months!


Hot Topic yet another teen retailer with its roots in "Goth", enjoyed business driven by accessories also beating analysts' projections with comparable sales at +11%


Aeropostale also a teen shopping mecca had positive response to spring receipts, ending the month at +11%



The Losers were everybody else, although a feeble few did report better than sales….


Department Stores:

JCPenney -8.8%

Macys -8.5%

Kohl's -1.6% This mid-tier retailer outperformed it's competitors showing strength in its branded lines.


Luxury retailers were hardest hit with deeper deceases than expected:

Saks -26.0

Neiman Marcus -24.2

Nordstrom -15.4


Specialty chains:

Abercrombie -30.0

Banana Republic -16.0

Old Navy -13.0

Gap (US stores) -12.0

Victoria's Secret -9.0

American Apparel -9.0

American Eagle -7.0


Mass Merchants:

Target -4.1

Costco -3.0

TJX Comp 0.0


In a season where the "Fashion Director" (once a visionary) is now obsolete; being thrifty is the new regimen and savings is the "new trend". What's a retailer to do to stimulate discretionary purchases?

The answer could be to offer a pick me up to the recession blues. It's not about sniffing out the next big silhouette, but keeping it simple. In a sea of neutrals, which the customer already has plenty of hanging in their closets, why not shock the senses with a color jolt?

From the spring runways to merchandise currently on the floors of retailers at all price levels, color is an obvious addition.





Macy's just kicked off its national ad campaign entitled: WELCOME BACK COLOR for Women & Men. March VOGUE featured the First Lady Michelle Obama on its cover looking fabulous in a bright pink sleeveless dress.


Macys welcome back colour



Color is a standout in multiple categories:

« Make up ; lilac & blood orange lips, pear green eyeshadow, bright pink blush, bronzed eyeliner , fuchsia nail polish

« Dresses in striking colors of tangerine, yellow, deep pink, purple, turquoise, sea green and exotic prints




« Tee shirts in pop brights whether screened, embellished or basics

« Vivid colors in denim

« The unclassic jacket adds pizzazz to stark white or basic black in lipstick hues

« Handbags, totes & colorful clutches, belts and shoes in fluorescent shades & colored Metallics

« Shoes in bright prints

« Statement necklaces, earrings & cocktail rings in brilliant colored stones

« Oversized watches in candy shades






What could be better than Color? It's sassy and it makes you smile!

So get your color on…

Till next week,



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