From our It’s Good to Live in a Two-Times Co. Town desk
New York Times August 27 edition:
Samantha Paradise is starting eighth grade in Manhattan next week, but she won’t be decked out in all new gear on the first day.
At 13, Samantha doesn’t want to be stuck with untrendy items, so she will wait to see if the Superga sneakers that were cool at summer camp are still in fashion, and whether her classmates choose JanSport backpacks or revive the Longchamp and LeSportsac bags from last year. “I don’t want to be the only one wearing a different kind of backpack,” she said.
In a shift that is upending retailers’ plans, many children, teenagers and their parents are delaying their school purchases. A desire to get the trends right accounts for some of the hesitation. But retailers and analysts say the sluggish economy and unusually hot weather have also made for a surprisingly slow start to the back-to-school spending season, one that was expected to be the strongest since before the recession.
Times kissin’ cousin Boston Globe August 24th edition:
Awilda Moscat walked out of the Forever 21 on Newbury Street with nothing but a pair of pants in her yellow shopping bag. Her friend Kim Ramon left empty-handed. At the peak of what is usually a frenzied time for back-to-school clothes shopping, the high school students feel no pressure to update their wardrobes for the first day of class.
“I want to wait and see if there’s anything new coming out during the year,” said Ramon, 15, of Dorchester. “It doesn’t make sense to buy everything now.”
A number of consumer researchers say Moscat and Ramon are not the only teens forgoing the tradition of August back-to-school shopping by spreading out their apparel spending. A number of factors, including the rise of chains like H&M and Zara, so-called fast fashion retailers that sell inexpensive clothing and turn over their inventories rapidly to stay on trend, may be contributing to the phenomenon.
Trend-savvy teens have always prowled the malls year-round. But typically the bulk of their school clothes were bought in August. Now many are delaying those purchases so that when, for example, cowl neck sweaters emerge as the hot item of November, they can strike quickly.
Score one for the grasshopper.