Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Frugal fatigue?


bootsplaid1Check out what women buy when they get tired of being a frugalista: boots, plaid and outerwear. 

Those were some of the products that helped October U.S. retail sales improve from a year ago, when the unfolding financial meltdown had shoppers fearing a second Great Depression.

“Frugal fatigue is setting in,” said NPD Group analyst Marshal Cohen. After a year of scrimping, he added, the numbers suggest that some women are going in for a little retail fix.

“Women (not only moms) are shopping their closets, discovering new and fresh looks and filling in with some key updates,” he said.

Check Out Line: Down but not out


clothing-racksCheck out the latest news on U.S. retail sales.

The trend was pretty much the same as it has been lately — most chains posted declines in August sales at stores open at least a year, or same-store sales.

However, many declines were not all that bad and there were a handful of increases, which could be a sign that consumers are really back to shopping.

Which fashionista are you endorsing?


michele-obama.jpgIn politics, appearance is everything. And for politicians’ wives, looking great for the cameras is key, whether its the Jackie Kennedy-influenced sheaths favored by Michelle Obama, or the bold, jewel-tone colors Cindy McCain sported at the GOP convention this week.

And for designers, having your outfits worn by a potential First Lady certainly can’t hurt. Witness the press (and extra sales) generated for Chico’s White House Black Market chain after Michelle Obama wore a black and white scoop-neck day dress from the retailer during an appearance on ABC‘s “The View.”
Chico’s could use the lift, given over a year of dwindling sales at its main chain that caters to women over the age of 40. Earlier this week, it announced an endorsement deal with Debbie Phelps, who it said wore its clothes the whole time she was in Beijing cheering her son, Olympic champion Michael Phelps.