Blog: US giants adapt to market adversity

Joe Ayling | 11 April 2008

It's the final day of the World Retail Congress here in Barcelona, and after much talk of emerging markets, the agenda briefly turned to trading in the world's very biggest economy.

This morning's speakers have shed some light on buying habits amid a near-recession in the US.

Matt Rubel, the president and CEO of Collective Brands, which runs the Payless ShoeSource and Stride Rite chains, said that although bargain shoppers have tightened their purse strings, there are still margins to be made at higher tiers in the country.

Many retailers in the US marketplace, with Wal-Mart a notable exception, have been posting monthly sales declines as the sub-prime mortgage crisis filters down into consumer spending habits.

However, experts here say that retail operators who get their branding and inventories right in the midst of this slowdown can be opportunistic, while others may fall by the wayside.

Quick stock turnover and evolving within core brand values are also part of the survival kit during the race for market share.

Many meetings of minds can throw up more questions than answers, but this week's event has delivered some firm indications of where fashion retail is heading.

It seems that emerging markets like BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) have ample potential, with finding the right local partner to help a launch or distribute a brand key.

On the other hand, the restraints of aggressive competition, real estate demand, local knowledge and even rising inflation mean that caution is required.

Developed markets, meanwhile, seem more ridden with saturation than opportunity at the moment, and brands are tackling a more prudent consumer.

In summary, as the retail business evolves in the face of globalisation there are three choices for Western brands - expand, improve or do both.

By Joe Ayling, news editor.


HOT ISSUE

World Retail Congress 2008

The Warnaco Group's chief has hailed the global awareness of its Calvin Klein businesses - billed as the company's driving force for growth....

BLOG

Busana Apparel on an expansion drive

Busana Apparel Group, Indonesia's largest woven apparel exporter, is on a drive to expand its domestic capacity, has set up its first factory in Ethiopia, is exploring opportunities in Vietnam, and ey...

BLOG

Act now to keep receiving just-style newsletters

You may have noticed a red alert bar at the top of just-style’s weekly and daily newsletters asking you to “Act now to keep receiving the just-style newsletter.” ...

BLOG

Apparel imports into the US rose in June

Apparel imports into the US rose in June as merchants stocked up for summer and prepared for the back-to-school season, with imports from Vietnam continuing to surge....

just-style homepage



Forgot your password?