Experts see major and minor shifts in the retail industry this year. Following is a handful of trends that are expected to impact independent merchants in the months ahead.
With the continuing growth of private label goods, manufacturers' brands are under fire, and many retailers are growing their own. Look for more unique strategic initiatives that extend the brand experience.
Among them are American Eagle's launch of intimates brand Aerie, Nordstrom's move into the music industry, and creative partnerships such as Dunkin Brands and Jet Blue, or even doctors/cosmetologists partnering with retailers to launch new products.
"Expect these partnerships to reach new levels of creativity," predicts David Wolfe, Creative Director of The Doneger Group. "LVMH and Apple could merge, as electronic gadgets are designed with the look of status brand accessories," he adds.
Look for a move toward untraditional real estate adjacencies. From New York to Los Angeles, Laura Pomerantz, principal of PBS Realty Advisors, expects more unconventional dual tenancy mixtures, such as Abercrombie & Fitch occupying space on the luxury corridor of Fifth Avenue, and specialty retailer, Bebe, emerging on exclusive Rodeo Drive.
In addition, Pomerantz expects to see more retail expansion in the children's business. She cites such concepts as Build-a-Bear and American Girl, as well as brand extensions like J. Crew's Crewcuts and kids shoes collections from luxury brands, LVMH, Prada and Burberry.
There will be big changes in fashion this year, according to Wolfe. "Simple, yet dramatic apparel and accessories will slowly but surely replace the over decorated, over detailed items that have now reached the saturation point," he says. "The past decade or two of ostentatious luxury is coming to an end, and with it possibly will come an end to society's obsession with low brow celebrities," he adds.
Two new purchase powerhouses will prevail, causing tremendous change in consumer purchasing power. They are Baby Boomers and women, according to Kathy Deane, president of Tobe, a marketing consultancy. "Baby Boomers now control 70 percent of all assets," she says, "and women are beginning to earn more money than their male counterparts.
"Retailers across all categories will need to become more aware of the female shopper and her impact on the business. Women will make the bulk of travel purchases, consumer electronics purchases and other big ticket items," she predicts.
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