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Retailers at West Coast Trend Show Keep Lean Inventories and Shop Smarter
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August 06, 2010
by Deborah Belgum, Senior Editor

TEAM PLAYERS: Ken Haruta, organizer of the West Coast Trend Show,
works with Stacey Walser in representing many of the same lines.

Menswear buyers at the recent West Coast Trend Show were hunting for novel and fresh items to entice customers through the doors, as 2010 is proving to be a challenging retail year filled with highs and lows.

TIE ONE ON: Geoff Nicholson takes a creative approach
when displaying his line of neckwear and scarves.

"It’s the power of new," said Michael Black, a sales rep for Saltaire and Tailorbyrd, two casualwear men's lines selling for under $100 per item at retail. "Those who are into 'last-year-itis' are in trouble."

Sales representatives at the fifth season of the West Coast Trend Show, held July 31–Aug. 2 at the Embassy Suites LAX North, located near Los Angeles International Airport, were trying to provide that touch of newness for Spring 2011 with scads of bright colors, madras shorts and soft fabrics.

Lively hues that belong on a sandy beach were fueling the Spring necktie collection designed and sold by Geoff Nicholson, whose company, Geoff Nicholson Neckwear, is based in San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

One of his predominant colors for Spring 2011 is a gentle but eye-catching turquoise. Other neck-tie styles included a pink-and-white gingham design and lavender and white stripes.

Added to his collection this season are lightweight cotton and linen Italian scarves wholesaling for $28 to $38. Heavy scarves have been a tried-and-true staple in many men's wardrobes, but a summer scarf is something entirely different. "I feel like you have to take the retailer out of their comfort zone," said Nicholson, who wrapped a colorful scarf around his neck to show how it went well with a blazer or summer sweater; it is an item most stores don't carry.

Variety sells
Retailers may have weathered the worst of the economic downturn, but they are still struggling to keep their businesses healthy.

Paula Zurowski and Romy Jue, the new co-owners of By Hand in Berkeley, Calif., said sales were up 15 percent over last year but it was still an ongoing effort to keep customers shopping. "We are looking for new men’s lines to freshen things up," said Jue, who said the store's customers are primarily academics at the University of California, Berkeley and local residents. "We’ve ordered some younger-looking lines."


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