Q: The holidays are finally here, but our sales still haven’t popped. When will the menswear market finally see an upswing?
Steve Pruitt: I know it has been a tough year for many menswear merchants, following the prolonged growth cycle we saw in recent years. That said, we expect a new growth cycle to start in late spring of 2017, offering low single-digit gains over this year. Our research shows that sales are flat in the first quarter after a presidential election, so we will have to hang tight until later in the spring season. We expect to see a more significant upswing in the fall, with small double-digit gains.
For now, focus on clearing your floors as quickly as possible since it will be difficult to get rid of your extra inventory once we hit the new year. Most merchants are offering seasonal markdowns of at least 30 percent off right now, and will move to 40 percent to 50 percent off after Christmas. Department stores are already offering these discounts, so make sure that you stay competitive.
The bottom line is that we are almost at the end of the slowdown, so stay positive and enjoy the holiday season.
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