Stocks Are Up…What About Sales?

Q: The stock market and consumer confidence are picking up. Are these signs of a unilateral increase in sales for this month? A: We are seeing a pickup in business, but it is gradual. We expect the trend over the next 6 months to be up 5% to 6% That being said, the range will […]

Slow Sales In January and February

Q: January and February have been very slow. How do I get business to pick up? A: You have to have new goods to sell. Vendors are running up against their completion dates, so if you haven’t landed new merchandise yet call up your vendors and ask to get the new goods delivered as soon […]

The Scarcity of Off-Price Goods

Q: Over the last two seasons I bought a lot of off-price merchandise, which helped my margin. I‘ve noticed that there is a lot less off-price merchandise now so how much margin should I expect to make? A: You’re right—there is a scarcity of off-price merchandise but you need to keep your margin up because […]

In-Season Buying

Q: We held back a lot of orders for fall and then bought more merchandise in-season. I still have a lot of OTB for spring—should I hold off buying until in-season again? A: In-season goods, especially off-price goods, will be harder to find this spring so we are recommending that your OTB does not exceed […]

Trends for Fall 2010

Q: I’m about to go to market. Should I expect a lot of change in what’s trending from now to next fall? A: Although we haven’t seen the market for fall 2010 yet, we do know that our business has a relatively slow change in trends, so outerwear and knitwear will probably continue to trend […]

Last Minute Markdowns

Q: Christmas is a little over a week away and my business is doing just okay. Should I start taking deeper markdowns? A: It depends on how you’re trending. If you’re still doing as well as last week and don’t feel that you are really missing any trends, then stay put. However, if you are […]

Holiday Sales So Far

Q: I’m having a hard time telling how December sales are really going with all the different media accounts. What are your forecasts for Christmas? A: Coming into the season, we expected at best single-digit gains over last year. However, we are seeing a sluggish start to December among most of our retailers, leading us […]

Adjusting For Holiday

Q: Given that fall business has picked up, should I adjust my plans to reflect a more positive holiday season? A: While it’s true that we are seeing positive trends in October, it is still too early to determine whether we should adjust our plans up for holiday. At Blacks, we projected a positive October […]

Fall Business Picking Up

Q: Business picked up in my store over the last couple of weeks. Are you seeing this trend in other stores? Can we expect it to continue? A: We have seen an upswing in sales in stores across the U.S. so far this month. As predicted, we’re seeing particular strength in outerwear and knitwear. Some […]

More Markdowns?

Q: As we head into fall, am I going to have to take the tremendous amount of markdowns that I took last year to move inventory? A: I don’t think you have to. We are already seeing markdown levels that are lower than last year. You still have to be more promotional than you have […]