Women’s Wear Daily
04.16.2014
fashion-features
fashion-features

WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH...

MODERATE VENDORS ARE MAKING THE MOST OF IT BY TEMPTING CUSTOMERS WITH LOWER PRICES AND MOVING INTO UNEXPLORED MARKETS.

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Instead, the company will do its best to offer innovative products. "If there is no competitive product, then we have more control," said Klyashtorny, who added that because Allure owns factories in India, it can add embellishments at a fraction of what they typically cost.

It's been a tough few months for vendor Christine Alexander. The $3.5 million moderate vendor, who mainly sources small specialty stores in the Midwest and on the West Coast, survived a rough December, during which it was plagued by falling customer demand and bad weather.

As a result, Alex DeHann, the vendor's president, said that the year ahead will be "a 'hang tough' year; we're going to try and stay flat." DeHann does aim to grow his doors from 2,700 to nearly 2,900 and plans to add another sales representative to Florida and possibly Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana. DeHann said that any growth within the company will come from new accounts in those areas.

Mother Nature wasn't the only reason last season was so difficult. Many of his retail customers defaulted. "The small mom-and-pops were hit hard, and credit issues were a problem," he said. "It was a tough fourth and first quarter because retailers just couldn't pay the bills."

To protect his interests, DeHann said that he will be more stringent with giving credit. "The stores are going to have to pay within the terms or we will stop shipments," he said. DeHann said that he suspects that he won't be the only manufacturer taking a harder line with vendors this year. "We've got to go through a period of repair," he said. "A lot of small retailers have lost credibility. Manufacturers are going to have to be tougher with [their customers.]"

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