Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Double-Week Recap Incl. NYC

A busy past couple of weeks at work plus some much needed relaxation time prevented me from updating as much as I have in the past, but here is the recap of everything I have noticed in the past few weeks - sorry for the lack of pics, but want to get this out as quick as possible.

High end -- It looks like it came in a while ago, but the merchandise from Tyrone's (boutique out on Long Island) is still available at 34th St., and both 57th St. stores. 34th and 57th & Lex. are limited to a few shirts - I saw some Canali, Zegna and Lorenzini. 57th & 7th also had blazers in large sizes from Canali, Belvest, and G. Vasta - maybe five in total, all mixed in w/the rest of the blazers on the wall. You wouldn't even know they were there...

Dress Shirts --
--- Be very weary of those boxed shirt/tie combos from Versa. Every single store got a stack of them - I'm assuming for Father's Day. Pretty awful things which will likely be sold, if at all, to the 40+ housewives looking for gifts for their husbands.
--- Culturata (made in Italy) made its return, but only at 57th & 7th, and I saw literally two shirts. Beautiful things, but for whatever reason, it only went to one store and we only got a very small selection.

a) A small mix of shirts, jeans and other pieces came in from Signum, a German brand of men's sportswear. The make on these was pretty good -- some made in Germany, others in Poland, though, the design on a bunch of the stuff felt pretty stale. Worth a look, but you'll have to sift through the more undesirable pieces - 34th St. had the largest selection.
b) You won't find much of it, but mixed in the racks were a few pieces from Lab Cinquantuno (made in Italy), along with a sister brand called REW ONE. Haven't seen this stuff since last summer. Decent, but hard to find.
c) Really great selection of t-shirts and cardigans from Gypsy05. Most of the stores have already mixed this stuff in w/their other t-shirts and such, but well worth digging through to find it -- priced at $9.99-$13.99 for really nice knitted t-shirts, henleys and cardigans. You won't find better prices on these.
d) And more random t-shirts - 50/50 cotton poly blend shirts from Wishbone and a bunch of shirts that were made for what looks to be a charity related to the Grammy awards, Musicares. 
e) Golf apparel came in from Callaway Golf - this is the kind of stuff I expect at Steinmart, not Daffy's.

Shoes, shoes, shoes -- I was generally impressed to see the quality level of shoes come around from what it has been recently, at least on the casual side of things --- rubber shoes from Native for $26.99, casual hi-tops from Pro Keds (really nice things), canvas sneakers from True Religion and Keep, flip flops from Rider, some sort of sporty-type sneakers from Cushe, and a few (read one or two/store) pairs of boat shoe-like casual shoes from Manas Design (made in Italy). Selection varies by store. On the dressier side, the only thing worth mentioning was several pairs of Florsheim by Duckie Brown shoes at 44th & Madison and 57th & Lexington. About 10-12 pairs in each store, around $119.99 each.

Accessories --
- Ties abounded -- Good: Olimpo (made in Spain); Bad: Belvetro (ugly as all heck).
- The 57th & Lex. store got in a huge stack of belts from a company called A. Wills. I mean to say that the quality on these things is horrible is an understatement - they were 100% polyurethane - i.e., plastic belts, covering an entire pillar at the store.
- Socks -- Most stores got in some more socks from Happy Socks. Nice things.

And one final note --- It appears that the Acquaviva (made in Italy) suits that came in last season, and a few which came down to Philly this season, are actually better than I had thought. Well, they are still only a decent suit - decent construction, but I don't rate higher simply b/c the cut is much looser than other suits --- BUT -- apparently Bloomingdales is now selling Acquaviva suits and separates at select locations. So good find for Daffy's, which found this stuff before Bloomies started carrying it. Makes me wonder if someone from Bloomies is reading the blog, or at least shopping at Daffy's... ;)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Update Coming Soon

Been quite busy at work the past couple of days, but have a lot of updates to put in after my brief venture to NYC last week --- was up on business, but managed to sneak in stops at a few Daffy's locations and pick up a some things for myself.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Under Where?

Just a quick update from last week's merchandise. Didn't see much of anything new outside of the underwear department -- underwear and undershirts from two new brands -- dug (www.duglife.com) and RIP T FUSION (www.riptfusion.com).  Both looked quite decent and seem on trend given the explosion in the men's accessories/undergarments category at the moment w/brands like Tommy John, though, according to the website, RIP T FUSION is no longer in production - so if you like the stuff, stock up.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Daffy's is a True Retailer

As much as I criticize the menswear selection at Daffy's, the one thing they do right consistently is pricing.  The items are, more often than not, priced correctly from the get go, and if any merchandise does not sell quickly, it is marked down to effectuate an expedient sale.  Daffy's, more than most of its competitors, has its pricing model, including initial pricing and subsequent markdowns, down to a science.  The point is to move merchandise quickly and efficiently so that new items can consistently be brought in for higher turnover.

The reason I'm pointing this out is the experience I had last weekend at a local Saks Off 5th store. I needed some brown shoes, and tried on one pair that I had seen there several times, going all the way back to last summer.  It turns out the shoes (Saks brand - decent but nothing phenomenal) had been sitting in the store since June of 2011.  Literally, sitting on the store shelf for close to a year.  But here's the key point - the shoes had never been marked down, and the only discount would be the 30% off that the regular priced shoes were receiving.  So I asked a manager to check on the price of the shoes for me, to see if what was coming up was indeed correct.  That took 20 minutes, after which he confirmed that they were simply the regular price less the 30% off.

In the meantime, another sales associate stopped by to use the register for something else. I mentioned about the shoes being on the shelf for a year, and she said that was nothing - she has dress shirts in her department that have been there for almost two years with no markdown. I was in utter astonishment --- what is the purpose of keeping an item on a shelf for two years? Is this a clothing gallery to display clothes, or a retail outlet meant to sell merchandise?

So when the manager came back and confirmed the regular price, I showed him that the register indicated the shoes came in in June 2011, and that they were the last pair; clearly they should have been on the clearance rack w/the 50% discount. Begrudgingly, the manager said he would give me a 40% discount (between the 30 and 50). It seemed painful to him that he should even give an extra 10% discount.

So the point of this drawn out story being -- while the merchandise at Daffy's may sometimes be spotty, they are a solid retailer and because of that, I sincerely hope, won't be going anywhere anytime soon. But stores like Off 5th, Neiman's Last Call and Nordstrom Rack have another thing coming. Their merchandise is generally overpriced from the start and markdowns are sometimes non-existent. Any retail business should have its primary goal to be moving merchandise. It is quite a simple principle, but some don't seem to understand it for some reason. Daffy's does. Now we just need to fix a few things merchandise-wise and we're ready to go.

On related note -- if you find a suit from last season sitting around (look for season code E on the hang tag) --- they are all marked down to a final sale price of $31.49. I helped a colleague at work find an Ortenzi suit at this price (fully canvassed, made in Italy), which is completely insane, but shows how much Daffy's simply wants to move its merchandise.  Saks Off 5th --- the same suits that received their first markdown in Feb/March are still sitting there at the same exact price some three months later.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Another Slow Week

Another slow week, but I will say it was a better one in that we didn't get in much junk -- just that not much came in at all down here in Philly.

The items from MINE which were in the Jersey stores last week made their way down here; nice stuff overall. And some more blazers from Confezioni Lombardelli (made in Italy) came in - mostly plaid linen blazers. Really quite nice - my guess is the folks in NYC have access to these items in a few of the stores there - none of the NJ stores received Lombardelli items. I hope to make a trip to NYC soon and provide a much-needed store update.

Shoes/accessory-wise - small selection of decent shoes came in from Kenneth Cole New York (better than the lower-end Reaction line), though at a price of over $80, I'm not sure of the real value there when Daffy's offers Italian shoes at the same price point. And some new sock brands (see pics) Vivarati (made in Turkey) and Rare Footage. I've included the back of the Rare Footage tag, only to indicate that these socks are 68% polyester - generally I like my feet to breathe, not sweat; but who knows, maybe there's a reason they're mostly synthetic.

Only other thing of note was something from the Young Men's side, which I usually just ignore on this blog b/c of how bad the stuff is, but I noticed a brand called Astronomy. I mean the items weren't phenomenal by any means, but they were solid and had a simple design to them, which is hard to find in the Daffy's young men's section, and of course priced to move. Worth a quick look if you've got a few minutes to spare.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Disappointing Week

I don't really know where to start...the last couple weeks have just been awful, and to make it worse, I visited every store in Jersey last weekend, and they are all faring worse than Philly merchandise-wise.

For what it's worth, here's the run-down ---

Lots of shoes from Puma and Beverly Hills Polo Club. The Puma stuff was not terrible, the Polo Club stuff, not worth your time.

Down here in Philly, we got TONS of athletic apparel, mostly nylon sweat suits from New Balance, Avia, and Fila. The fact of the matter is that people don't come to Daffy's looking for this stuff, and simply that no one under the age of fifty wears nylon sweat suits. Just an awful waste of floor/rack space.

Jackets from U.S. Polo Assn. and Totes - more wastes of space. The Totes items are quite basic and not exactly the most stylish things, and U.S. Polo Assn. is not a brand I expect at Daffy's. These same items were in last Spring and were also sold at retailers like Pay Half and Tuesday Morning.

Along with a large assortment of candy (which I still can't understand to be honest), most of the locations are also now selling Calvin Klein suitcases. Not horrible things, but they seem overpriced to me. If I want luggage at a discount, I go to TJMaxx/Marshalls, not Daffy's. Now, Italian leather bags, that's a different story.

Probably the worst items of the week were these camp-style short-sleeve shirts from Axis. Axis, for those of you not in tune to the lower-end of the spectrum, is a brand sold at Kohl's and JC Penney. With all of these items mentioned already, and especially these shirts, I cannot fathom how they can sell this bottom of the barrel merchandise and at the same time sell fully-canvassed suits, and hand tailored shirts made in Italy. The two don't mix, and only serve to turn off customers and devalue the better merchandise.

The only highlights of the week, if you can call them that --- most of the Jersey stores got in a small selection of items from MINE (see pic for label); first time I've seen this stuff at Daffy's in a few years; a few shirts folded up in the wall areas marked SERICA (made in Italy), priced at $35.99 -- you wouldn't even know these things were there since they're just shoved in w/every other folded shirt, mostly the low-end stuff; and some scarves/shawls which have been in for a few weeks now that are made in Italy -- same manufacturer that made a lot of the winter scarves this past season --- really nice stuff if you need a lightweight accessory to your wardrobe (linen/cotton).

A number of the Jersey stores got in samples of suits/blazers from John Barrit. All of these were size 40US/50EU, and marked as samples w/season code H. Nice stuff, but nothing in my size.

Only other thing I noticed, only in Philly -- the items w/vendor code (search for 'vendor code' for a prior post to see what this refers to) CONF, which correlates to pieces from Confezioni Lombardelli which came in two weeks ago as samples, also included some blazers from Messagerie (made in Italy). Beautiful pieces, and I counted all of three in total, but apparently Lombardelli makes their blazers. None of this merchandise found its way to the Jersey stores, but I'm guessing a few locations in NYC got these items.

Here's hoping that this week will improve significantly. Though, I'm not holding my breath.