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Showgoers hunting for newness
Retailers making their way to National Shoe Fair (NSF) and the Footwear Fashion Association of New York (FFANY) market week said they are for the most part looking for newness and excitement to help spur sales in the coming year.
They want to spice up their merchandise mix to help draw in the consumer and phase out extensive promotions. Most anticipate a sluggish market if price increases brought on by the weak dollar are substantial.
Retailers in most regions complained of slow and even flat boot sales in the fall/winter '87 season though, oddly enough, the Sunbelt enjoyed some measure of success in the category. Buyers said they will continue shopping for plain riding boots, though they will looking for material interest like lizard and snake treatments.
The high-heel craze seems to have settled as retailers plan their stock around a balance of flats and mid heels, though a few 21/8-and-up styles were included. Retailers said they will be looking for black and suede, in all types of silhouettes, for fall.
Following is a regional survey of retailers planning to attend NSF and FFANY.
Divisional merchandise manager for a major Northeast department store: "Number one, we're looking for newness. Number two, direction on what's happening in boots, boots not as a fashion trend but as more of a utility. At this point, fashion boots seem to be limited, but we are open if the market shows us something new."
In heel heights we're "looking for high and flat, skimmer types." The divisional has noticed "a pickup in higher dress shoes. The pump is going to continue," but the divisional said she is looking for a variety of silhouettes.
The color story is "black, black and black--and black again," said the divisional.
Linda Chase, co-owner and buyer for the Shoe Complex, New York: "I'll be looking for fall/ winter boots and have a little open-to-buy left for spring."
For fall, she'll be looking for more "fashion boots and more heels in them. We brought in a lot of riding boots this season, lots of flats, and we need something a bit fresher." …