Saturday, April 07, 2007

In the News, a Sunday Scribble

This was fun for a former reporter. I gave myself 30 minutes, 600 words and a topic I'm passionate about. Consider it an editorial in news-feature form. Made the time limit, came in well under the space limit, which would be good in the ol' newsroom 'cause this story cries out for pictures. If you think the new blog would be a good idea, give me a shout ... I just might be up to the task! Until then, spend your power wisely and enjoy your weekend.

Retailers, designers in shock
Girls clothing, shoes sit on racks another week

As the spring season gives way to summer retailers and designers across the region have been thrown for a major loop by the lack of demand for girls clothing and shoes. One manager of a local Target reported no movement in his girls shoe department in the past three weeks.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said. “Moms and young girls have been walking out of here with tennis shoes and nothing else.”

At the local mall things were almost as bad. “I’ve never seen an entire season’s fashions sit on the racks,” a Macy’s rep said. “We have no idea what to expect with the back-to-school season. The winter orders are on my desk. I just don’t know what to send in.”

Mid-range retailers such as Marshall’s and Kohls reported some sales, having restocked certain brands twice in the past two weeks.

“One thing I’ve noticed is that the styles that are selling are all similar to each other,” a Kohls rep said. “They’re what I would call ‘girls’ clothes’ … you know … smocked sun dresses for Easter, sandals with ankle straps. The camouflage bubble minis and sparkly flip flops are going to be 60-80 percent off soon. I can’t believe we still haven’t sold any of that stuff.”

One mom was spotted with her 9-year-old daughter at Marshall’s on Friday in the shoe department. The little girl didn’t even turn her head to look at the wedge-heeled flip flops.

“She’s never been allowed to have that stuff,” the mother said. “And she knows better than to ask for it now. She’s 9 … not 19. And there’s no reason my 9-year-old should be forced to dress that way. If I search hard enough, there are options.”

Apparently more and more moms are feeling this way, some dad’s too.

“I wouldn’t let her wear that when she’s 15,” a dad said in Target on Saturday. “Why would I let her wear it when she’s 7?”

Meanwhile, in the blogosphere reporters are combing through a recent find encouraging consumers to exercise their full power. “Why buy it if you don’t really like it?” said Friday’s entry at She’ “You work hard for that money! Spend it on something you find appropriate for your young daughter, not what retailers are sticking out there and saying they should wear.

“If enough of us put our money where our mouths are, designers and retailers will be forced to change to meet demands.”

Until then, the Marshall’s mom and her 9-year-old daughter will continue the pattern they’ve followed for years.

“First we try Target, then Kohl’s, then Old Navy and Marshall’s. I don’t know why I stick to that order because I have different luck every season,” the mom said. “But I can’t afford the places that really make clothing for young girls, such as Talbot’s or Children’s Place. So, we just find a day when we’ve got the energy to shop and get what we can. She knows our rules, and I think she just might be beginning to understand them. Just because everyone else does it doesn’t make it right for you. And I’m only spending our money on what I think is right for her.”

Boy, as the grandma of a 12 year old I truely wish this post were a real article in the news media somewhere. Our "12-yr. old" is only in girls sizes 7/8, maybe a 10/12! I hate the fact that the clothes are more geared for Paris Hilton and Brittney Spears. Why are the clothes designers in such a hurry to force little girls to grow up and wear inappropriate clothing?!

You are a very talented news reporter besides a very talented writer!!!
I'm a mom to two boys, my eldest has just turned 13. It's difficult for me to teach him to treat girls with respect when retailers and parents are dressing them with such adult wear. I am an adult and I wouldn't wear 90% of this stuff. This should be in the papers, it really shows us where our morals and values are for our children now adays. Enjoyed this post! Thought provoking.
both arms up in a cheer!
Great article, Hobess! I wish consumers realised more often that they have the true power, and not the other way around. Have you considered sending your work out? I think you have such a way with words.
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