Catching up with John McCoy

Menswear veteran John McCoy is “amazed” at the positive energy in the industry these days. “It’s not a complete turnaround but retailers are feeling marginally better and there seems to be less fear. I think there are several trends driving the optimism, the most notable of which is color. Our Mason’s business (pants at $175 to $250 retail) had flatlined with the economy but it’s picked up somewhat, particularly in colored bottoms. In addition, our Khakis Surplus line at retails under $100 has opened up a whole new market.”

According to McCoy, who has always repped cool brands, conventional stores have been struggling with casual sportswear ever since Gap, Banana, and Club Monaco became dominant in sportswear years ago. “Everyone idolizes J. Crew which, as a merchandising concept, is essentially Garanimals for 20-somethings. Which is just what we’re doing with our Khakis Surplus collection, most of which wholesales at $39.50 for a suggested retail of $98.50: beautiful shirts make in Honduras, cotton pants in gorgeous colors, printed wovens and knits, washed linen looks, a sueded five-pocket pant with details like split waistband, iPhone pocket, 16 inch bottoms…” A perfect polo with contrast collar and details is $29.50; art-inspired swimwear is $29.50; all told: an exciting affordable collection!

“The problem is always that in a recessionary economy, retailers turn to replenishment buying. While at one point this was a good idea, it no longer works since stores all carry the same brands and become totally dull and predictable when focused on core basics. Were they to take just some of those dollars to try something new, not risking everything but just adjusting some of those replenishment dollars, business would surely improve. You won’t get a guy off the couch unless the product is special. No one comes into a store and says, ‘Show me what I bought last year…’”

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