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Trade Show Shake-Ups Stress Buyers

This New York trade show season — which pushed most of the shows up two weeks, positioned others on top of each other and broke off others into March — took its toll on buyers.

Coterie ran two weeks earlier than usual this February

Coterie ran two weeks earlier than usual this February.

Photo By WWD Staff

This New York trade show season — which pushed most of the shows up two weeks, positioned others on top of each other and broke off others into March — took its toll on buyers.

When ENK International moved Coterie to Feb. 10 to 12, pressing against Project Las Vegas, smaller shows in Manhattan had to decide whether to move up as well and squeeze between New York Fashion Week and Coterie — as Designers & Agents, Train and Platform 2 did — or break off to run on their own later — the tactic adopted by Nouveau Collective, Moda and AccessoriesTheShow.

Once the shows decided their strategies at the end of 2007, buyers were forced to make their own choices this year: Can they afford to be out of their store in February for both New York and Las Vegas shows? With D&A and Coterie overlapping, how do contemporary-oriented buyers divide their time? Do they write orders at shows on Feb. 11, before seeing the trends from the European runways — and before spring lines are even in their stores? Do better buyers return to New York in March for Moda?

Bonnie White, owner of an Atlanta women's specialty store, was not pleased with the turn of events this year. For one, she skipped Moda "because it happened in March," opting instead to go to the Atlanta market "where 95 percent of those vendors show."

She was equally displeased with the earlier scheduling of Coterie and the other shows. "It was too early to switch your brain into fall," White said. "We just got done with the last fall markdowns, and spring hadn't started coming into the stores. Because it was so early, I just went to the vendors I traditionally go to and didn't have my mind open enough to go to new vendors, which is the lifeblood of stores like mine. Coming that close to the January business is not good for your head, and I'd like the shows to go back to toward the end of February."

Mechelle DeLuca, manager and assistant buyer of women's apparel store Our Place in Charlotte, N.C., had to cancel her usual visits to Las Vegas and New York for Moda.
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