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MILAN — The mood at the recent Micam show was mixed, with many attendees noting that European retailers and wholesalers had not yet felt the full impact of the recession.
But by all accounts, U.S. buyers attending the show were skittish about fall.
“I didn’t buy from some of the expensive vendors,” said Shaw Dehghan, owner of Shaw Shoes in San Francisco. “I had to limit myself to only a few things, a little here, a little there. We all have to be careful.”
Bruce Wesley, owner of Wesley Shoes in Chicago, was also cautious, placing orders with only two brands: Hispanitas and Thierry Rabotin. “Hispanitas’ styling is right on target right now, and when it comes to luxury shoes, Thierry Rabotin still has the best fit,” Wesley said.
Still, some retailers at the show, held here March 4-7, were looking for the bright spots in the sour economy.
Lisa Gorlicki, buyer for Shoe Inn, which has locations across the New York tri-state area, said she was disciplined, but still placing orders. “You can’t be doom and gloom,” she said. “Business isn’t stellar, but it’s not terrible.”
Gorlicki came to the show to scout product for the retailer’s growing private-label assortment. “We carry all the big Italian brands, but we’re not chasing the designers [when we go] to Italy,” she said. “[Private-label] is a point of difference.”
One positive sign for the buyer — and the Italian resources she works with — is the more favorable U.S. dollar/euro exchange.
“[The factories] are cognizant of what’s going on [in the economy], but their biggest concern was when the euro was at 1.60 [to the dollar] compared with the current 1.25,” she said. “In their minds, things are better.”