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MALE ENHANCEMENT: Fashion Group International and GQ hosted a panel discussion Tuesday at 4 Times Square on the male consumer and the economy. Dana Telsey, chief executive officer of Telsey Advisory Group, warned tight inventories and lower prices will make for a challenging holiday season. “If people are expecting an up holiday, that’s pretty tough to do on down prices and down inventory,” she noted.
Telsey said creating “retail as theater” through events such as Fashion’s Night Out is key to keeping consumers excited about shopping in the tough economy. Martine Reardon, executive vice-president of marketing and advertising at Macy’s, agreed, noting Fashion’s Night Out “gave people permission to go shopping again without feeling guilty.” She added that cause marketing platforms, such as the retailer’s current “Come Together” promotion, aimed at providing 10 million meals to needy Americans, connects the brand to shoppers “on an emotional level so they want to be your friend.”
Marc Schneider, president of dress furnishings at Phillips-Van Heusen, decried the industry’s current reliance on lowering prices. “Price is only one dimension of value,” he said. “Real value is a combination of great product, great design, great logistics, planning and allocation and great in-store POS and marketing.”
John Bartlett, creative director of the Claiborne by John Bartlett label, said he is influenced by technical advances in fabrics and pointed to activewear maker Lululemon as a trailblazer in this area. “Their silhouettes are great. They’ve got the best T-shirts on the market, and they combine techno-fabrics with something that could be sexy and you could wear out at night.”
— David Lipke