Sports Insight

July / August 2019

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sportstyle retail strategy HOW TO Sell Style 18 • Sports Insight July/August 2019 Specialty Retailers Share their Apparel Secrets. By Suzanne Blecher Selling apparel can be a tricky proposition for specialty sports retailers. It can be costly to invest in a space where consumers are able to get great pieces for less money at big box establishments. Retailers face questions such as: "Which brands should I carry? How much floor space can I give over to apparel? What makes for a successful apparel strategy?" Sports Insight asked a few specialty retailers across the country to share the challenges and opportunities of selling apparel in our current marketplace. Here's what they had to say… Ridgefield Running Company / Ridgefield, CT Megan Searfoss, Owner What Consumers Want: "Technology and comfort. Stash pockets that hold larger phones and keys, but don't take away from the style. Customers are looking for running or gym class apparel, but also for lifestyle clothes that will take them through the day. Price is important, but it is not the only factor. Guys hook into a line and stay with it, whereas women are more willing to try other brands to achieve a look." Best Selling Brands: "Vuori has made a big jump across both men's and women's. e brands that offer a so touch and helpful technology are typically winners. Rhone and Tasc do well in men's, whereas New Balance, Lululemon, and Oiselle are strong in women's." Importance of Higher-End/Cross-Functional Apparel: "It is great to see big brands like New Balance address this and nail it. Customers are really looking for some- thing that they can almost spend the day in. With more people working out of their house and employers al- lowing business casual, apparel has become much more cross-functional. e smaller apparel only brands are spicing up traditional run style and offer a nice balance." Biggest Challenges: "I think too often our fitters are focused on the shoe part of the business. e time taken for the appropriate fit experience doesn't allow the fitter to introduce apparel. is leaves the customer to have to browse on their own or not at all. Small brands are really strong on social media and make an impact. Our customer wants emerging brands and style, but for a retail store, it is hard to react since we are looking at product that is eight months away. at doesn't allow us the flexibility to respond to what's trending on Instagram." n

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