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IBM forecasts strong apparel sales for fall

BY Marianne Wilson

Armonk, N.Y. — Apparel sales are expected to post year-over-year gains during the fall shopping season (August, September and October), with especially big increases in children’s apparel, according to an analytics-based forecast by IBM.

Sales in children’s apparel this fall are expected to total $2.6 billion, an 11.1% increase over the prior-year period. Women’s apparel sales are projected to total $9.2 billion, up 3.1% over last year.

Men’s apparel sales August through October are forecast to increase 5.5% over last year, to $1.9 billion. Footwear sales are expected to total $7 billion, up 3.2%

The IBM study indicates that for men’s apparel, September sales will be up 10.5% over the 20-year average. For women’s apparel, September sales will be up 2.15% over the 20-year average.

“This indicates that consumers are rotating between categories,” said IBM retail analytics leader Michael Haydock. “Adults are holding back on purchasing for themselves during their back-to-school shopping for the kids. But once the kids are in school, moms and dads will be looking to treat themselves. This category rotation, which became prominent after the economic downturn began in 2008, seems to be persisting.”

Haydock noted that it is important for retailers to understand these trends and adjust advertising, staffing and inventory accordingly to meet fast-changing demand.

The forecast relies on historical data and sophisticated analytics software developed by IBM to analyze both long-term trends and seasonal peaks. In producing the forecast, IBM applies analytics technology to economic data gathered by the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Retailers bring a night of fashion to the masses

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — New York Fashion Week has become more than just an opportunity for top designers to showcase their wares to industry insiders, celebrities and others privileged enough to get inside the tents. Fashion Week has become a chance for designers and retailers to bring the latest trends to the masses.

Fashion’s Night Out has returned for 2011 and is probably the best example of Fashion Week coming to the people. Retailer’s including QVC, Loehmann’s and New York & Company are all participating in the one-night event on Sept. 8 that offers after-hours shopping, discounts and more at select locations.

QVC said it will broadcoast live from New York City’s trendy SoHo neighborhood during Fashion Week and will open its doors to the public at 6 p.m. EST on Sept. 8. The company said it will provide guests with an interactive multimedia shopping experience and the opportunity to see their favorite personalities, including Heidi Klum, Isaac Mizrahi, Melania Trump and Kris Jenner. In addition, the company is offering makeup and skincare consultations at its dedicated beauty area.

"We are thrilled to, once again, bring the excitement of Fashion’s Night Out and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week to our viewers," said Claire Watts, CEO of QVC U.S. "With a star-studded list of celebrities and designers as well as access to exclusive behind-the-scenes content, this is one programming event that shoppers won’t want to miss."

As reported earlier by Retailing Today, Loehmann’s will hold an in-store runway show on Sept. 8 at its New York Flagship store.

New York & Company announced that its Fashion’s Night Out event will take place at its flagship store in Midtown Manhattan and will feature a DJ, food and the stars of the reality TV show, the “Real Housewives of NYC.”

Click here to learn more about Fashion’s Night Out.

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Kroger names president of QFC division

BY CSA STAFF

CINCINNATI — Kroger has announced the promotion of Joe Fey as president of the Quality Food Centers (QFC) division.

Fey, 57, has been VP merchandising for the company’s Michigan division. He succeeds Donna Giordano, who was recently promoted to president of the Ralphs division in California.

"We are pleased Joe has agreed to join our QFC division," said Rodney McMullen, president and chief operating officer of Kroger. "Joe has always led with a passion for developing great people and delivering the highest-quality products to our customers. His skills as a mentor and expert merchandiser will help QFC continue to be the quality and service leader in the Pacific Northwest."

Fey brings nearly 35 years of retail experience to QFC. He began his career as a meat clerk with Kroger in 1972 while earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration at Indiana University. He was quickly promoted to a variety of leadership positions including store management, deli/bakery merchandising, and meat/seafood merchandising in both the company’s Central division and corporate office in Cincinnati. In 1999, Joe was named VP merchandising for the Dillons division, and in 2008 was named VP merchandising for the Michigan division.

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