“Teens Want a Change”, courtesy of WWD

June 14, 2010 at 7:16 am (Uncategorized)

The teens want a change.

Specialty stores catering to fickle 13- to 19-year-olds are struggling as these consumers grow tired of the Americana and surf-and-skate fashions they’ve long snapped up and search for a new look — even if they’re not quite sure what that look might be. Their ennui is setting off alarm bells over the crucial back-to-school season even as schools let out for the summer.

Not only is demand soft, but competition is growing. Fast-fashion retailers such as H&M, Zara and Forever 21 are gaining momentum since their looks change every six weeks or less, and mass merchants are picking up market share, as well. According to Hana Ben-Shabat, a partner in the retail practice at the A.T. Kearney consulting firm, between 4 and 6 percent of teens last year shifted from shopping at specialty stores to shopping at mass merchants and discounters.

Part of this is being driven by the hangover from the recession — and continued high unemployment. That means teens don’t have money to spend on new clothes, and nor, in many cases, do their parents. Apparel spending, which had averaged 50 percent of teens’ discretionary purchases in 2008, fell to 40 percent last year.

According to The NPD Group, apparel spending among 13- to 19-year-olds dropped 9.4 percent to $34.7 billion in the 12 months ended April from $38.3 billion during the comparable prior-year period.

Soft demand in the teen segment and a glut of inventory that built up since the first quarter at key stores could trigger an all-out price war in the space, pressuring results for the second quarter and b-t-s, according to analysts.

Comparable-store sales at teen stores fell 2.7 percent in May, Thomson Reuters’ reported, well below the 2.6 percent increase for all stores reporting last month. Some, but not all, of the weakness could be attributed to strong year-ago results: Aéropostale Inc.’s 1 percent gain came against a 19 percent year-ago increase and The Buckle Inc.’s 5.4 percent decline compared with a 13.4 percent increase in May 2009.

The need to clear out inventory in advance of b-t-s shipments at retailers including Gap Inc., American Eagle Outfitters Inc. and Abercrombie & Fitch Co. not only could put stores under higher price and margin pressures, but also affect consumer psychology going into the important b-t-s selling season, said Kurt Salmon & Associates partner and strategist Christina Bieniek.

“Retailers have to get inventories down for b-t-s,” she said. “It will be interesting to see what that will do to the consumer.” A promotional summer could make it difficult for retailers to “flip the switch” back to full-price selling during the b-t-s season, she noted.

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You Twit.

March 4, 2010 at 8:35 pm (Career, Marketing, Personal, Retail, Fashion, Twitter) ()

So, here I am still gainfully unemployed, poised to spit out blog #2. I have some down time since I arrived at traffic court this morning at 11:40 ready to debate a speeding ticket, which I got when I was test driving a used 2008 Porsche Cayenne (2 months ago when I was employed and could afford one) and got pulled over doing 83mph. Sorry, but I didn’t even know where the speedometer was – they are very spunky cars, for those of you who aren’t familiar with them. Anyway, I got to the courthouse at 11:40 and the guard informed me that court was closed and I had to come back at 1:30 when the court reopened, giving me 2 hours of down time with no internet connection… Blog # 2 is born.

So I have decided to make a career change, like everyone else seems to be doing, and apply for a job at traffic court since they get 2 hour lunches and government perks. Who remembers the last time anyone in marketing had time for a lunch break?? Actually, now that I think about it, some years before I arrived on the work force, those lucky “ad men” would brag about their liquid lunches and how they’d conceptualize campaigns on bar napkins? Ahhhhh… the good ol’ days that I’d never know.

Back to the task at hand… Blog #2 is about what has happened in my life since I posted Blog #1. Well, the Twitter thing is really picking up. I’m up to 128 followers who I have come to think of as my God-sent, daytime buddies. Oh how I miss the camaraderie of my work friends who would hang on to my every word, and vice-a-versa of course, going on about our tribulations and weekend plans. These day, thanks to “those-who-twitter”, I no longer feel starved for the exchange of stimulating ideas between intellectual adults who also give great hair and make-up tips. Twitter has saved me. Yes, I am a Twit.

Last week while I was struggling (pulling my hair out) to work on this Blog of mine, I reached out to my Twitter world and begged for someone to help beginner bloggers like me. An angel named Jeff Bullas answered my prayers and actually posted “Blogging for Dummies” on his well trafficked site! Incredible. Only 2 days later, there it was for me to explore. What an unbelievable resource to have at my fingertips. Later in the week, I had some questions about a site (elance.com) that I was considering registering with, since I desperately need some cash and I thought maybe I’d look for some freelance writing jobs. Once again, I reached out to the “tweeterati” to see if anyone had heard of them, and lo-and-behold, Eddie from Elance came to my rescue in a matter of minutes. He actually offered to speak with me on a hard line… to answer all my questions on how to get some hard cash. Hard to believe. You twit and you shall receive.

So, thanks to Jeffbullas and Eddie from elance_sales, my good friend Jeannemariepics and the 125 other tweeters on my list, I’m starting to see the “twit at the end of the tunnel”.

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My Own Thing

February 28, 2010 at 2:38 pm (Career, Marketing, Personal, Retail, Fashion)

I have started this blog because frankly, I, like thousands of others, have recently been downsized. I am unemployed. I am home without a job to go to for the 1st time in 25 years. It is a staggering admission and why would I want to expose this to the world? Well, besides needing something to do for 16 hours of awake time, everyone I know is suggesting I start “my own thing”.

My own thing is marketing. My experience is in fashion. I’ve worked for Bally of Switzerland, G+G/Rave stores, Chess King (in the 80’s), Pastry (The brand by MTV’s Angela and Vanessa) I’ve even worked on an exclusive fashion brand for Walmart, Metro 7 featuring Dayanara Torres (a former Miss Universe). I have lots of experience.

So, the first thing I did was to create a twitter account twitter.com/tidobi (which stands for Think it. Do it. Brand it.) I already have 83 followers although that number changes every 3 minutes which is how often I check it. I learned yesterday that Lady Gaga has 2.8 Million. I am just getting started so watch out Lady G!

Next on the agenda was to create a blog so I can expound. Since Twitter only lets you start a thought, here I can finish it in as much detail as I want. I hope that through these social media trials, I will eventually discover what “my own thing” will be that will actually put food on the table. In the meantime, I hope that I can keep a sense of humor and if anyone actually ever reads this, you will forgive me for anything stupid I might say. Please wish me luck as I venture out into the BLOGOSPHERE…

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