Expect to see billowy silhouettes, ethnic prints, '40s and '70s looks, longer hemlines and utilitarian-style outerwear when you shop for clothes this fall. That was the word from merchants ranging from mid-range department store Macy’s to tony Saks Fifth Avenue and online marketplace eBay, summing up the key themes that emerged during Fashion Week earlier this month.
Retailers such as JCPenney, Target and Walgreens are partnering with magazines like Glamour, PeopleStyleWatch and Modern Bride to leverage their fashion authority to help sell everything from tops to bridal gowns to lipstick.
After a rough 2009 that saw the demise of several stores, jewelry merchants have emerged as the shining star of the retail sector this holiday, with chains from tony Tiffany to mass-market Sterling Jewelers posting robust sales gains.
Even if Google doesn't buy Groupon, the talk of a potential multi-billion dollar deal has created buzz for both the group buying site and its rivals. While Groupon and rival LivingSocial are by far the most popular in the emerging space, they aren't alone, and some suspect other sites such as SocialBuy, Tippr, and BuyWithMe could also be ripe for a takeover.
Black Friday weekend used to be the bellwether of the holiday shopping season. Merchants held their breath when Thanksgiving weekend sales results trickled in, holding up the period as a major indicator of how their stores would perform. But the weekend has lost much of its crystal-ball appeal.
In a bid to capture younger shoppers and recoup market share lost to stores like H&M, Forever 21 and Zara—which churn out runway-inspired looks at bargain prices—JCPenney bowed in-store shops from Spanish chain Mango; Macy's rolled out the Material Girl line from Madonna; and Sears unveiled “Now+Here,” a fast-fashion junior and apparel department.
The TV retailers HSN and QVC were once synonymous with gimmicky, novelty items with a slightly cheesy edge, but now they are more likely to be rolling out exclusive product lines and forging partnerships with fashion forward, status brands that broadcast the message: “This is not your mother’s home shopping channel.”