Weekly Retail Report
Trade talks, retail stocks sky high, Esprit's new digs, and why it pays to be busty this week...in shopping.1
Retailers jonesing for greater access to global markets are hoping that the Obama administrations health care win will free up some time to focus on trade. Unlike the former administration’s focus on free trade agreements, this round of trade talks will likely trade infrastructure such as port management and creating system efficiency. Many would still like to see Congress consider lifting transactional duties on countries like Vietnam, South Korea and Columbia to allow for more movement and option, factors retailers find key in their goals to further tapping untouched markets.
For the sixth straight week retail stocks were up as retailers try to play catch up with the economic recovery. By day’s end Monday retail stocks outpaced all others with Dillard’s, Williams Sonoma and Tiffany’s leading the way. Also in the black were Tod’s, New York & Co. and Ross.
Former Anne Klein design director, Isabel Toledo, is working on a new line for Topeka, Kansas based shoe and bag retailer Payless. Toledo will join designers Christian Siriano, Alice & Olive, Lela Rose to shoes and handbags for the masses. Olympic gymnast Natsia Liukin plans to team up with Penney’s to create a girl’s apparel line. Esprit opened their newest and biggest flagship store on 34th Street, and it’s not what you expect. Gone is the signature red door, white walls, bright lights and nauseating nautical theme. Esprit is focusing on their global consumers as well as re-purposed wood paneling, chic mannequins and a more sophisticated environment. In sportswear, Nike kicks off it’s FIFA World Cup marketing. In the Northwest, Saks closes it’s Portland store and warns more closures. In beauty, Sephora plans to unveil exclusive brands in Europe. In Milan, Marc Jacobs store is all the rage. And online, Anthropologie looks to open an international site.
Finally, why does it pays to be busty? Literally. Larger bra sizes are creating more sales for lingerie companies like Victoria’s Secret, Haneswear and even Harlequin. In the 70’s and 80’s the median bra size was a whopping 34B. By the late nineties and early aughts, it rose to a 36C, and last year, more and more women asked for D, DD, and sizes up to K. (Oprah Winfrey pulled a G cup from her closet.) Individual stores say they can’t even keep large sizes in stock, and a spokesman for Calvin Klein’s full-figured line, Lane Bryant, said they are increasing production for bra sizes E-H every year, which is wonderful news for ladies who need a extra support.
So in your effort to keep retail going strong, consider a lingerie overhaul, until next week…in shopping.
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