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Retail Guide: Men's Shopping List

Men’s buyers are covering all the bases with a broad assortment that includes everything from boots to sneakers to dress shoes.

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RUBENSTEINS, New Orleans
Kenny Rubenstein, GM
Store count: 1 (12,000 sq. ft.); est. 1924
Hunting for: “Boots will continue to be strong, so I’m looking for short to tall boots. I’ll also maintain my stock fill-in position on the shoes I do well with, such as Allen Edmonds and Bruno Magli, but what I’m really looking for is unique styles.”
Strategy shift: “Focused on [improving] cash flow by maintaining a lower inventory and working on vendor stock programs. I try to fill in every week or two, even if it’s just a few pairs. I am buying a lot less up front.”
View on the economy: “We’re excited about what happened over the holidays, but we’re still nervous. It used to be you could count on things more, once there was a turnaround. But the fact that we did well for the holiday gives me hope.” 
Lesson learned from holiday ’09: “We don’t have to mark down product. We made it through the season with fewer markdowns. We essentially stayed at 25 percent off and made the same amount of sales and more profit.”
Current bestsellers: “Bruno Magli’s Raging [double-gore slip-on] is No. 1. More casual Cole Haan styles picked up during the holidays.”
Best price point: $300 range
Spring ’10 forecast: “We’re very positive, but it’s a lot more work. We have to pay attention constantly in terms of inventory, pricing and pushing those margins.”
Hottest new brands: “Sutor Mantellassi. It has great color and has been well-received. Also the new comfort collection from Moreschi.”
Next big thing: “Boots will still be very important.”

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