Blacks' Retail Report

Sales Mixed Ahead of Expected Spring Surge

From Blacks The Retail Experts- Here is What is ahead for retailers

 

Sales Mixed Ahead of Expected Spring Surge 

 

Blacks’ Retail Report contains the latest retail news and exclusive trends and forecasts, gathered from retailers across the country.

The Big Picture Signaling robust U.S. economic growth, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the second time in three months in March, by a quarter point. The stock market, too, has continued to be bullish about the economic outlook in anticipation of tax cuts and deregulation by the new administration.

However, the outlook for corporate profits has been revised downward, and overall

retail sales continue to lag. Sales rose just 0.1 % in February, marking the smallest gain in six months.The pullback in consumer spending could be due to a slight uptick in inflation, and a delay in tax refunds, analysts said.

Inclement weather, especially on the East Coast, has also been a factor. Interestingly, Internet sales are up, indicating that people still want to shop, but from the comfort of their own homes.

 

February Trends

Last month was mixed for apparel retailers. Menswear sales continued to be sluggish, but women’s wear posted a comeback. Men’s sank 2% overall, weighed down by a lack of interest in suiting categories such as suits and dress pants. Jeans and casual pants fared well, however, as men started to restock their weekend closets. Meanwhile, women’s wear posted a 4% gain overall, thanks to double-digit growth in special order and simmering interest in ready-to-wear. Women’s wear tends to pick up sooner than menswear, so this was no surprise. We expect broader momentum later in the season

 

Spring Ahead

We are hearing anecdotally that many retailers have already seen an uptick in the second part of March. The strategy now is to quickly figure out which items have been the strong sellers early on so you can place reorders now, hopefully at a lower cost than if you wait until later in the season. Look for the sizing, styles, and vendors that are already working and reinvest. This way, you can build more margin and fuel increased sales.  The window for reorders is short, however, and they may not be available at all later in the season. Chances are your competition is chasing after them as well. And, as always, keep the mood light and positive in your store. The sun is starting to shine, you have beautiful new product, so there’s no reason to dwell on the news or other external factors.

 

Blacks’Bottom Line

Keep your focus on early winners, and reinvest in the products and vendors that are working.

 

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