Q: Reading your latest Retail Report, I saw that you predicted modest growth in menswear over the next couple of seasons. Taking a step back, where are we in the larger retail cycle and when should we expect menswear to see stronger growth?
A: Great Question. Menswear has been trending positively for two years. Retail cycles usually last two to three years and then slow a bit before the trend picks up again. Blacks believes that we are in the latter part of this retail cycle. Business should be okay for the balance of this year, but the slowing cycle will catch up with us.
The soft patch will likely last for six to nine months and then the trend will begin to lift again. It is important to focus on what causes cycles to lift — mainly newness. Look for new fashion trends to push your store into the growth cycle. Also, remember that not all stores follow the general retail cycle. There are always stores that power through with positive growth and these stores are usually focused on newness.