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Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week kicks off its fifth season at Lincoln Center where models dressed in designs fresh from the drawing board are hitting the runway.
Thousands of fashion editors, buyers, and industry insiders will descend upon New York during the next week to see more than 80 of fashion’s most well-respected and emerging designers present their collections for the upcoming spring season. Fashion trend forecasters expect collections to include elements of simplicity, with a greater emphasis on pants this season.
Getting trends right is crucial for designers who hope to land on department store racks for the upcoming season. Just last week, retail executives said they would be entering the crucial holiday season cautiously — a tip-toe attitude that could impact buyers’ plans for spring and summer inventories.
Click ahead for some highlights from the New York Spring 2013 fashion show.
By Katie LittlePosted 7 September 2012
Some like it hot — especially women’s swimwear designers.
For the eighth year, thousands of fashion industry pros and onlookers migrated to Miami Beach to check out the latest in "barely there" attire during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim. The show, which is one of the largest swimwear trade shows, ran from July 19 to July 23.
Although the bathing suits may be skimpy, the stakes are not. Women’s swimwear sales are projected to grow to $2.9 billion this year while total U.S. swimwear sales are expected to hit $4.2 billion, according to forecasts from market research firm NPD Group.
“For designers, group shows offer turn-key production and public relations elements,” said Christina Neault, executive producer of IMG Fashion. “For buyers and media in attendance, it allows them to see three or four designers within one show.”
This year, color continued to dominate the runway as models strutted down the catwalk in intricate patterns, coordinating pastels and animal prints. Designers also put a new spin on the traditional one-piece suit with cut-out designs and silhouettes reminiscent of past decades.
The show’s popularity grew this season as the number of designers showing their Spring 2013 collections there hit an all-time high with more than 30 present. The list included Lisa Blue, Luli Fama, Mara Hoffman Swim and BCBGMaxAzriaGroup.
Click ahead to see the newest swimwear trends for 2013.
By Katie Little
Posted 24 July 2012
Global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney takes an annual look at which emerging markets are ripe for retail expansion.
Its study ranks the top 30 emerging countries and grades them on many factors, including an assessment of country risk, population size, wealth as well as the country’s current retail saturation.
With anemic growth in the U.S. and Europe, retailers realize that global expansion is more important than ever. This has prompted retailers to search the globe for untapped consumer markets.
“While the world’s largest developing markets — particularly the BRIC nations of Brazil, Russia, India, and China — still tempt the largest global retailers and show no signs of slowing down as a source of growth, many smaller untapped markets are providing new growth opportunities,” A.T. Kearney’s report says.
The firm’s research uncovered growing potential in such countries as Georgia, Oman, Mongolia and Azerbaijan, which all made their debut on the list.
The emergence of these newer markets as well as the Arab Spring uprisings, which hurt the rankings of a number of countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa, led to a shake-up in the rankings . Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia all slipped. However, several countries in the region remained high on the list and continue to be attractive markets for retailers.
“Given the accelerated growth rates of developing countries compared to the anemic growth in European and North American markets, global retailers must have a strategy for expansion into developing markets,” said Michael Moriarty, A.T. Kearney partner and co-leader of the study. “In the past five years, U.S.-based Wal-Mart, France-based Carrefour, U.K.-based Tesco and Germany-based Metro Group saw their revenues in developing countries grow 2.5-times faster than in their home markets.”
Click ahead to see which countries are the most attractive for retail expansion.
By Christina Cheddar Berk,
Posted 12 June 2012
Country rankings are from A.T. Kearney’s 2012 Global Retail Development Index. Population and GDP per capita data are from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook.
Stir in one part candy store, one part alcohol and a splash of cocktail risk-taking. For many vodka producers, this is a recipe for success, as they seek to capture the American consumer and draw attention to their brands through creative new flavors.
Flavored vodka accounts for approximately 27 percent of leading brand vodka volume, and continues to grow in popularity as total vodka sales also increase, according to market research firm Technomic.
In 2011, David Ozgo, senior vice president of economic and strategic analysis at the industry’s trade group, the Distilled Spirits Council, counted 115 different flavors in the vodka market.
“They included everything from the basics, like orange, vanilla, and lime, to the more exotic: ginger, pepper, horseradish, bacon, and wasabi,” Ozgo said. “Such flavors allow trained mixologists and at-home bartenders alike to develop new and interesting cocktails.”
Brand marketers use new flavors to drum up press coverage for their companies and to keep their brands top-of-mind for bartenders when they’re mixing up new cocktails, said Donna Hood Crecca, Technomic’s senior director in the adult beverage resource group.
“There are some really wild new flavors coming out, and a lot of them relate to very sweet flavor profiles, which is different from a few years ago,” Crecca said. Before, the focus was on more savory flavors.
Today’s top three best-selling vodkas are all sweet: Pinnacle Whipped Cream, Absolut Citron, and Smirnoff Raspberry, Crecca said.
Click ahead to read about some of the most unusual vodka flavors on the shelves.
By Katie Little
Posted 17 April 2012
Americans are expected to spend more on candy, flowers and little trinkets this year as they celebrate Easter, according to a survey by BIGinsight on behalf of the retail industry trade group, the National Retail Federation.
Spending on the holiday is expected to rise 11 percent from last year to about $16.8 billion. This means the average person celebrating will spend $145.28 on everything from candy to food to new Easter outfits.
That’s no small sum, especially when you consider that most Americans are paying more for gasoline these days.
“Though the price of gas is on everyone’s mind, Easter is one of the few holidays some consumers are willing to stretch their budgets, especially because many children look forward to treats and new outfits on Easter morning,” said Matthew Shay, the federation’s president and CEO.
To help the budget stretch further, we have rounded up some ideas for Easter gifts that cost less than $25. Click ahead and get some inspiration.
By Christina Cheddar Berk
Posted 21 March 2012
The nation’s oldest operating toy store, FAO Schwarz, is turning 150 years old this year. To commemorate this milestone, the company has assembled a collection of more than 20 iconic toys spanning the decades that customers can view at its Fifth Avenue store in New York until April 10.
The toys date to the early years of the 20th century and include a Richard Stieff Teddy Bear. Also on display are the original Barbie and Ken dolls, a prototype of the Etch A Sketch, and seven of the original Hot Wheels cars. Many of the items come from the archives of the toy manufacturers that made them, and some are in their original packaging.
There also are a few glimpses into the history of FAO Schwarz itself. The company’s iconic FAO Schwarz Clock Tower, pictured here, adorned the store from 1986 to 2004, and has returned to mark the occasion, singing out the theme song, “Welcome to Our World of Toys” every five minutes.
A sales ledger from 1909 and a number of the company’s early catalogs are also on display. FAO Schwarz was one of the first retailers to use a mail-order catalog to market its products. It began the practice in 1876, 14 years after its founding during the Civil War.
Please click ahead to see a sample of the historic toys in the collection as well as get a glimpse of a few scenes from around the store.
By Christina Cheddar Berk
Posted 22 February 2012
If you have ever had to wrestle your iPad from your child’s clutches, you know that kids love playing on tablets and smartphones. The trend has not been missed by toymakers. They know that even before a child can read or speak, they have an affinity for these devices.
Enter the biggest trend at this year’s American International Toy Fair: toys that are either based on apps, or can be used with tablets and smartphones. The trend began last year, but this year the volume of products in this category will explode.
Some see the emerging trend as a way for toy companies to woo children back to their products, but others expect these technologies also can be used to enhance classic children’s play.
Whatever side you’re on, it is still too early to know what kids will think of these products and which ones will stand out in the crowd.
Already, several basic approaches to this market have sprung up. Some toymakers are using physical toys to interact with smartphones and tablets, while others are using apps to strengthen their brands by carving out a space for them in the virtual world. Another group is recognizing that these brands are an important pop culture phenomenon and are developing toys that bring these virtual characters and games to life in the real world.
Click ahead to see some ways tech, toys and tablets are melding together.
By Christina Cheddar-Berk
Posted 21 February 2012
“Play Happens” is the motto you see splattered on signs as you walk around the American International Toy Fair at the Jacob K. Javitz Center in New York, and indeed it does. That might be why the mood remained upbeat at the 2012 Toy Fair, despite coming off another year of weak sales.
U.S. retail sales of toys generated $21.18 billion in 2011, a 2 percent decline from the $21.68 billion in toy sales rung up in 2010, according to market researcher NPD Group. Of course the decline was not even; sales of licensed toys bucked the trend, rising 2 percent in dollar sales; and there were some brands such as Mattel’s Barbie and Crayola that continued to turn in a strong performance.
Classic toys such as building sets and dolls saw the most significant sales gains, 23 percent and 7 percent, respectively.
But to stay relevant, toymakers are looking to new products to excite shoppers and get them to buy, and that’s what Toy Fair is all about. Click ahead to see some of the coolest toys from Toy Fair 2012.
By Christina Cheddar-Berk,
Posted 15 February 2012
Models wearing cutting-edge designs are hitting the runways at New York's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, which is in its fourth season at Lincoln Center.
Thousands of fashion-industry insiders are in New York through Feb. 16 to see 90 of fashion’s most well-respected and emerging designers present their collections for the upcoming Fall season. Fashion trend forecasters expect designs to emphasize simplicity and employ more feminine shapes and fabrics.
Although the economy has shown signs of rebounding, industry experts say consumers still seem cautious about planning their luxury purchases.
High fashion continues to take note of consumers who wish to buy big names on a not-so-big budget. Several designers, including Jason Wu, Missoni, and Nicole Miller, have collaborated with mass-market retailers to offer collections with lower price points.
Click ahead for some highlights from the New York Fall 2012 fashion show.
By Katie LittlePosted 10 Feb 2012
Updated 13 Feb 2012
Love may be blind — but it’s not free. In fact, Americans are planning to spend big bucks this Valentine’s Day to show their significant others that they care, according to a new report.
The National Retail Federation forecasts that love-struck consumers will spend 8.5 percent more on Valentine’s Day this year, bringing the average spending to $126.03 per person, or a total of $17.6 billion.
Men will once again be the big spenders, shelling out almost twice as much for women in the elusive hunt for the ideal gift, the NRF said.
But once Cupid has helped you snag your true love, where do you buy the present that will make your other half swoon. To help you out, we’ve found a variety of “his” and “hers” gifts — for whatever type of sweetie is in your life.
Click ahead to see some Valentine’s Day gift ideas.
By Katie LittlePosted 1 Feb 2012
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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