Actress Sarah Jessica Parker was “bitten by the Steve & Barry’s bug” after walking into a Steve & Barry’s store for the first time.
Having grown up in a family of eight children which faced financial challenges, Parker said she related to the store’s philosophy of offering quality merchandise at low prices, while helping change the mindset that people have to spend a lot for great clothes.
Parker’s first-ever apparel line, Bitten, launched June 7 at Steve & Barry’s. The sportswear for women of all ages and sizes is offered at $19.98 or less.
The Bitten brand will offer nearly 500 apparel and accessories pieces, including woven and knit shirts, suit separates, wool and cashmere sweaters, dresses, jackets, lingerie, jeans, T-shirts, sweatshirts, sleepwear, swimwear, bags, jewelry, belts, footwear and more when the fall line is unveiled in August.
The value of Bitten is reflected in the brand’s jeans, which are constructed of denim produced in the same mills and finished with the same techniques as many premium brands that cost hundreds of dollars.
Last year, Steve & Barry’s partnered with NBA basketball player Stephon Marbury to offer the Starbury collection of clothes and sneakers.
Footwear retailer The Finish Line has agreed to acquire Nashville, Tenn.–based Genesco for about $1.5 billion, according to International Council of Shopping Centers.
Genesco is a specialty footwear and apparel retailer with more than 2,000 stores.
The Finish Line controls about 690 stores, including The Finish Line and Man Alive chains. With this acquisition, it will add Genesco’s 780 Hat World stores, 148 Johnston & Murphy stores, 760 Journeys stores, 73 Journeys Kidz stores, 12 Shi by Journeys stores and 190 Underground Station stores to its portfolio, giving it more of a presence outside the athletic footwear sector.
First quarter 2007 net sales for The Finish Line dropped 0.2 percent to $288.3 million from $289 million a year ago. Same-store sales overall declined 3.9 percent.
Meanwhile Genesco’s net sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2008, which ended May 5, increased 6 percent to $335 million, compared to $315 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2007.
Retailers showed healthy sales gains across the board in May, helping to ease concerns about a slowing economy.
According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales for May (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) rose 4.7 percent unadjusted compared to last year and 1.1 percent seasonally adjusted compared to April.
May retail sales showed that total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) increased 1.4 percent seasonally adjusted from last month and 5.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department.
Industry sales in most sectors saw strong gains. Clothing and clothing accessories stores sales surged past expectations, seeing a 2.7 percent increase seasonally adjusted compared to last month, and a 9.1 percent increase unadjusted year-over-year.
Health and personal care stores sales rose 0.8 percent seasonally adjusted from last month and 6.5 percent unadjusted compared to last year.
Showing the effect of the weak housing market, building material stores sales rose 2.1 percent seasonally adjusted from last month, but decreased 0.7 percent unadjusted compared to last year.
Furniture and home furnishing stores sales rose 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted and 2.9 percent unadjusted compared to last year.
The NRF Foundation, the research and education arm of the National Retail Federation, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration, has released a retail competency model designed to help retailers identify and build talent.
The framework for the model supports a variety of recruitment, training and career advancement solutions built on the skills that retail workers need to succeed.
Through the President’s High Growth Job Training Initiative, ETA has worked with business leaders to create comprehensive and readily accessible documentation of the skills required in a variety of high growth, high demand industries. ETA collaborated with the NRF Foundation to develop, crosswalk and validate competencies necessary to pursue retail careers.
“We are committed to expanding competency-based training and certification in the retail industry,” said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. “These competencies set a standard for career advancement and identify opportunities to take advantage of the range of career opportunities which retail companies provide.”
The NRF Foundation and several retail partners were instrumental in the development and validation of the competency model. Competencies have been integrated into curriculum and training programs are available at NRFF Retail Skills Centers across the country, schools and colleges, and within the Workforce Investment System.
Companies can access courses through NRF University wired, an e-learning platform developed for the retail industry.
Joan Johnson covers retail for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.