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The Holiday Shopping Season Starts Now. Are Retailers Ready?

This week, everyone will be talking about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, PVH Corp.'s financial results and hunt for another brand to buy, and a new exhibition of vintage fashion at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Get your BoF Professional Cheat Sheet here.
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade | Source: mdpNY
  • Brian Baskin


A Requiem for Cyber Monday

Macy's Christmas window 2015 | Photo: Diane Bondareff for Macy's

  • Over 165 million US consumers plan to shop between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday
  • US consumers plan to conduct 46 percent of holiday spending online, according to a Piper Jaffray survey
  • 87 percent of UK consumers plan to spend the same or more on holiday shopping, despite a weak economy, according to Accenture
The most important shopping days of the year (aside from sponsored "holidays" from Amazon and Alibaba) are upon us. Brands are approaching the five-day stretch between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday in a variety of ways, from ignoring it entirely (Deciem, REI) to blasting promotions at customers since late October (some department stores and big box chains). Though online spending is expected to once again surge, stores still see the holidays as the one time of year they can still bring in the crowds. The tradition of elaborate holiday windows at big-city department stores is evidence of that, though New York lost one this year when Lord & Taylor closed, and Barneys' once-innovative displays are endangered. The importance of Cyber Monday may also be on the wane. An NRF survey found fewer consumers plan to shop on Cyber Monday this year (42 percent vs 46 percent in 2018). The fact that Thanksgiving falls so late this year may be a factor; Cyber Monday is on Dec. 2, and a growing number of consumers prefer to wrap up their holiday shopping before December rolls around. 
The Bottom Line: These days, if a brand is waiting until Black Friday or Cyber Monday for their big holiday sale, they're probably too late. 

PVH Corp. Wants Another Acquisition. What Should They Buy? 

Actor Noah Centineo for Calvin Klein | Source: Courtesy

With Calvin Klein’s ill-fated foray into luxury fading into the rearview mirror, parent PVH is looking to its future. That likely means a major acquisition, executives have told media and Wall Street analysts. It’s a fraught decision; competitors Capri and Tapestry, formed with the acquisitions of Versace and Kate Spade, respectively, have struggled to prove the merits of an American fashion conglomerate. PVH specialises in taking well-known American brands and providing the global supply chain and management expertise needed to grow them internationally. The pool of potential takeover targets is limited - DTC brands like Everlane may be too expensive, Ralph Lauren too big. Perhaps it’s time to dust off talk of a Tory Burch takeover? 

The Bottom Line: PVH needs to demonstrate it has a plan for its current portfolio of brands before buying another one. Calvin Klein in particular is struggling, with sales down sharply in North America and a Moncler Genius-style collaboration strategy apparently discontinued.

The Fascination With Vintage Fashion

A Cristobal Balenciaga dress from 1961 | Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art's display of items donated by fashion collector Sandy Schreier opens on Nov. 27
  • Fashion exhibits have drawn bigger crowds in recent years; The Costume Institute's "Heavenly Bodies" exhibit in 2018 set a record for the museum, with 1.7 million visitors
  • Museums must compete with a growing number of private collectors and resale sites to secure rare items

Fashion's current mania for nostalgia is changing the formerly sleepy market for vintage apparel. The Met's Costume Institute may in the past have competed for a collection such as Schreier's with a handful of fashion museums and private collectors. Now, collectors have their choice of institutions, auction houses, resale sites, high-end vintage stores and more, all catering to an increasingly global and demographic-spanning audience. It's not just early Saint Laurent or classic Chanel that's sparking bidding wars, either. The mania for all things '90s and early '00s, not to mention the rise of streetwear, has created a thriving market for much newer pieces.

The Bottom Line: As BoF's Chavie Lieber explored last week, the action is also rapidly moving online thanks to sites like 1stdibs and The RealReal. Even Sotheby's holds regular online fashion auctions these days.


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