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WWD News: Industry Betting on Denim for Back to School


Posted THURSDAY JULY 16, 2009

From WWD ISSUE 07/16/2009

Guess Shop

Guess??™ SoHo store features denim (Photo by Kyle Erickson)




Looks from Gap??™s 1969 Premium Jeans. (Photo by George Chinsee)

















The industry is betting big on denim for back-to-school. 

In a landscape pockmarked with liquidations, reduced inventories and discounting, retailers and brands are targeting denim as the vehicle to drive sales in the year??™s second most important selling season. 

Gap Inc. and Guess Inc. are going back to their heritage for fall and stressing denim in their merchandise plans, and Levi Strauss & Co. thinks an uptick in denim interest will help turn around lagging volume. A shift toward more affordable prices in many lines should also prove attractive to shoppers who have pulled back on spending because of the recession. 

Early forecasts on the season aren??™t upbeat, but denim has shown resilience during the downturn. 


Looks from Gap??™s 1969 Premium Jeans. (Photo by George Chinsee)

The National Retail Federation??™s b-t-s survey found the average family with children in kindergarten through high school will spend $548.72, a drop of 7.7 percent from $594.24 last year. Although this figure includes anticipated spending on everything from pencils and Trapper Keepers to computers, it??™s certain that consumers will be hunting down sales in almost every spending category. 

No less an authority than J. Crew Group Inc. chairman and chief executive officer Millard ???Mickey??? Drexler has said the jeans market is saturated at cheaper price points and at $125 and above. However, Drexler, who this week launched the Madewell ??™37s jeans collection, also thinks there??™s an opening in the middle for ???cool, well-made, well-designed jeans at $59.50 and up to $100.??? 


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–Nikki Cho Russo

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Posted Jul 16 2009 in Uncategorized
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