Low-Rise Jeans Raise Retailers’ Hopes

Aug 01, 2002

Retailers are counting on low-rise jeans as a “must-have” item for men to help reverse the dismal sales trend reported by youth-oriented retailers on the cusp of the back-to-school shopping season.

Los Angeles-based Guess Inc. says it had expected to sell the jeans for men
only in top markets, such as Los Angeles, New York and Miami. But the pants
also are selling in Middle America, according to Erik Joule, general merchandise
manager for men’s clothing at Guess.

The back-to-school shopping season depends on more than jeans and so far youth-oriented retailers are seeing troubling signs, reports the Los Angeles Times. Counterculture favorite Hot Topic Inc. says that July sales were slower than expected and August sales also might fall short of expectations. Apparel retailer Gadzooks Inc., based in Carrollton, Texas, also says that July sales were running “significantly lower” than expected. And footwear maker Genesco Inc., based in Nashville, Tenn., lowered its earnings expectations after sales slowed last week at its Journeys stores.

Moderator Comment: How important is the back-to-school season for retailers? What are the keys to success?

We can only hope that the success of the back-to-school
season for retailers is not going to depend on sales of low-rise jeans (hip
huggers to fellow Boomers) to young men. The picture of a generally overweight
teenage and young adult population walking around in tight low-rise jeans is
not a pretty one. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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