Q: I saw in your latest Retail Report that menswear was down 8 percent in June. Why is men’s faring worse than women’s, and have we reached the bottom of this slow cycle yet?
Steve Pruitt: You’re right – the men’s business is tracking lower than women’s, but this is not that uncommon. In most slowdowns, men pull back quicker. I think it’s just the nature of men. Men’s merchandise is normally less fashionable and doesn’t require refreshing as quickly as women’s.
As for the length of the slowdown, at Blacks we expect the slowing trend to go through the fall period and likely into holiday. We do expect a couple of pops in sales, most likely in September and December.
As we enter spring 2017 we expect a period of flat business in the first few months, and then a slow growth period beginning later in the spring and into fall. So, there is a light at the end of this slowdown. Make sure you are prepared to manage the next few seasons carefully so you can take advantage of the upswing.
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