Stores looking to NY Fashion Week to lure shoppers

Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:14am EST
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By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. and British department store buyers are looking for fall and winter trends at New York Fashion Week that will not only lure shoppers back, but excite them enough to pay full price amid a struggling economy.

After an abysmal year of retail sales as the United States and Britain suffered their worst recessions in decades, fashion directors at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Harrods and Liberty told Reuters they felt a growing sense of optimism.

When New York Fashion Week starts on Thursday to showcase fall and winter collections for 2010, buyers are planning to be more selective and buy fewer clothes as they push shoppers to pay full price instead of waiting for discount sales.

"We have all become much more edited and selective in the way that we buy," said Colleen Sherin, fashion director of Saks Fifth Avenue. "It is making the consumer realize 'I probably cannot wait three months to get this on sale, I need to buy it now and I want to buy it now.'"

But while shoppers remain cautious about spending, they are not playing it safe when it comes to fashion choices.

"If she already owns it she's not interested in buying it again ... She is purchasing things to add to her wardrobe to update it with the current message of the season," said Ken Downing, fashion director at Neiman Marcus.

"Everyone is aware of the economic situation and there's a need to really speak to the customer in a voice that is going to get her excited and ignited when the season rolls round to come into the stores and shop," he said. "We want clothes that are so enticing that she wants them at regular price and not waiting for them to be marked down."


<p>A model presents a creation from the Calvin Klein Spring 2010 collection during New York Fashion Week, September 17, 2009. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>