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CIT TRADE FINANCE: Middle-market retailers cautiously optimistic for holiday.
Details on Industry Insight.
BusinessWeek has an interesting story about how some national retailers are approaching the holiday season.
We all know what happened last year: retailers got caught with too much inventory after the economy took a turn for the worse in the fall, which led to unprecedented discounting.
This year, companies had more time to prepare for the current landscape, and are using different strategies.
Here's a summary:
Restoration Hardware is going more upscale by finding artisans to hand make more furniture. "If you're going to battle with the same goods you did in the last economy, you're probably going to lose," CEO Gary Friedman told BusinessWeek.
JC Penney is holding 60% of its inventory in warehouses, either finished product or fabric. The idea is to not flood stores with merchandise that then needs to be discounted if sales don't materialize, and to have fabric on hand to make more clothing if sales in key styles go better than expected.
Container store has permanently cut prices by about 16 percent on one tenth of its products with the hopes of avoiding price promotions.
Saks Fifth Avenue, which caused a firestorm last holiday season by drastically cutting prices on designer goods before Thanksgiving, has increased its offerings of mid and entry-level fashions. The company has pressed designers to make less expensive goods with different fabrics and embellishments.
Neiman Marcus is using Facebook and emails to promote limited sales on select items, but only for two to three hours on one day. One night, for example, the luxury department store offered deep discounts during a Monday Night Football game.
Some retailers are expanding what they sell. Sears has added permanent toy sections in some stores, Best Buy is testing selling used video games, electric scooters and patio furniture.
Click here to read the entire story.