Spring Retail Blossoms: Sales Rise Double Digits On Femininity and Color

Retailers are reporting that spring selling is off to a robust start, with an abundance of color and ladylike looks leading the way.

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Jaqui Lividini, senior vice president of fashion merchandising at Saks Fifth Avenue, noted that the store’s business was ahead 25 percent last month, partially fueled by the mailing of its catalogue in the first week of February. “The theme for the February catalogue was color, and we packed the store with color,” said Lividini, adding that color has been selling well throughout the country, especially yellows, pinks and oranges.

“We’re having one of the best designer seasons in a long time,” said Lividini, citing Peter Som, Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Michael Kors and Comme des Garçons as doing very well.

“Color is doing amazingly well, just as we thought it would,” said Karen Katz, president and chief executive officer of Neiman Marcus. “Our customer loves all the color. They are buying prints, and pink continues to be strong, as well as green. It has been terrific.”

Neiman’s posted a 24.4 percent gain in comparable sales last month that stemmed from strong business across the board, with the hottest spots in handbags, shoes and contemporary sportswear. “We’re at this point where almost everybody is doing well,” Katz said. “These moments don’t happen very often, and we realize that and are enjoying it.”

Neiman’s standouts include Dolce & Gabbana, Etro, Prada, Chanel and Gucci at the designer level and Marc by Marc Jacobs, Tahari, Theory, Juicy Couture, Seven and Citizens of Humanity in contemporary.

“The jeans business continues to be terrific,” she noted. “We did this exclusive denim from Seven with pink embroidery on the pocket, and that has been wild. The whole item business in novelty tops is also doing really well.”

LaVelle Olexa, senior vice president of fashion merchandising at Lord & Taylor, agreed that the biggest spring trend is feminine and ladylike looks. Items with pretty details, and bouclé and soft tweed jackets have been strong sellers.

“Grosgrain trim or frayed edges have been strong, and all skirts, especially flirty skirts with tiers, ruffles and pleats,” are doing well, she said, as have sweaters with bows. Pink is the strongest color, in all shades from pale to fuchsia, and green is second.
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