Lighter-weight, more versatile styles, such as reversible jackets and seersucker blazers, are expected to help keep the momentum going from a strong fall-winter season that’s wrapping up. Coat makers are more concerned about touching up their images than generating blockbuster sales. Spring sales, after all, typically comprise no more than 20 percent of total retail sales, which were $3.5 billion last year.
Some retailers have pushed back their spring deliveries by two to three weeks due to the "supercold weather," said Glen Palmer, president and chief executive officer of the Amerex Group, which produces Weather Tamer, 1 Madison and the licensed Jones New York outerwear.
Amerex is counting on faux-suede walking-length raincoats to energize the rainwear business, which has suffered in recent seasons. A quilted reversible barn jacket, a faux-silk anorak and a poplin jacket with plaid detail are spring bestsellers, Palmer said. A barn jacket that appeared in a Jones New York national print ad has also spurred spring sales.
"We’re planning sales to be flat, but we’re [seeing strong] early trends," he said. "Perhaps, it’s time to get the rainwear business to work again."
Jeanette Nostra, president of G-III Apparel Group, is seeing interest in washed canvas, cargo details, safari looks and suedes with appliqués in its Nine West and Kenneth Cole lines. But spring sales are inhibited by cold weather.
"People are buying clearance fall items because it’s still so cold and spring hasn’t gotten much of a hold yet," Nostra said.
Searle is rolling out its spring outerwear on Saturday, following continued strong full-price selling on shearling, down and wool coats at $425 to $3,400 through this past weekend, said David Lazar, director of retail.
"We’re getting down to the nitty-gritty now," Lazar said. "There’s not much left."
"No one is going to order typical outerwear for spring. It has to be a luxury," said Jais Perdets, president of the Victoire showroom, which lists Salco, Kryos and Gruppo Marly among the lines it represents.