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An upbeat retail sales report for August may have buoyed up some hopes for renewed consumer spending, but those on the frontlines — consumer products and retail executives — interviewed by CNBC on Wednesday weren't quite as upbeat.
Fashion Week has long been recognized as a hub for the hottest trends. But with the retail sector getting pounded by the economy, has sponsoring the event gone out of style?
Ahh…temptation. Isn’t that what shopping is supposed to be about?
Sometimes it’s hard in these tough times for retailers to think about anything survival, and stick to the safe and secure, but that’s not always going to be the right trick to woo the consumer. Sometimes, it pays to take a risk, especially when there’s a void to be filled.
Although consumers are still spending with restraint, Frederick's of Hollywood actually saw a pick up in sales of their fall collection during the month of August. CEO Linda LoRe attributes this trend to the "bright colors and fun fabrics" featured in the fall line-up.
"The price points are so sharp," LoRe adds.
According to LoRe, shoppers have a more limited budget, but they still want to be excited by the clothes they buy. "They want value. They want style," she says. Frederick's has been trying to stand out from "same T's, tanks and pants."
Click ahead to see some items consumers are buying from Frederick's.
By Christina Cheddar Berk
Posted 14 Sept 2009
The fabric in the hands of Thakoon Panichgul, one of Michelle Obama’s favorite designers, is exquisite. An Italian jacquard, woven from yarns of eight different colors, it costs $100 a yard. A dress that Mr. Panichgul plans to make from the cloth for his runway show next week will cost $2,000.
He lets it fall away. It troubles Mr. Panichgul that as much as people love beautiful clothes, they do not understand why they cost so much. “It’s becoming a losing battle,” he said.
The stores may be shuttered, the company liquidated, but retail brands are increasingly living on long after the bankruptcy proceedings have ended.
Now comes the tough part.
The latest batch of monthly retail sales reports showed steep sales declines for high-end retailers like Saks and Nordstrom , but with signs the economy is beginning to turn around, it will pay for luxury brands to hold their ground.
The government's "Cash for Clunkers" program was "ingenious" because it coaxed wary consumers into re-leveraging their personal balance sheet, Doug Dachille, CEO of investment firm First Principles Capital Management told CNBC.
Christina Cheddar Berk is assistant managing editor of Enterprise coverage at CNBC Digital.
Courtney Reagan is CNBC's Retail Reporter.
Tom is a Senior Editor and Assignment Desk Manager for CNBC TV. He also writes about the business of beer for CNBC.com.
Stephanie Landsman is one of the producers of "Fast Money."
Coordinating Producer, Squawk on the Street & Squawk Alley
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