Retailers%20Highlight%20Accessories%20-layout

Retailers%20Highlight%20Accessories%20-layout - Retailers...

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Retailers Highlight Accessories With New Wardrobes a Tough Sell, Chains Try Belts, Bangles and Bags Clothing retailers are expanding their collections of belts, bangles and bags in hopes these high- margin accessories will boost slumping sales. Casual wear retailer J.Crew Group Inc. opened its first accessories boutique last month in New York and soon will release its third accessories catalog. Accessories accounted for about $165 million, or 12% of its sales last year, almost double the amount in 2004. Gap Inc. launched the first accessories-only branch of Banana Republic, called Edition, in May. And Henri Bendel, part of the Limited Brands Inc. portfolio, is expanding its offerings this summer with six more stand-alone accessories stores. Retailers said jewelry, belts and scarves remain impulse-purchases that don't require a lot of budgeting, unlike a new wardrobe. "It's a little bit of a candy moment," says Jenna Lyons, J.Crew's creative director. "You don't have to try it on. You can just take it to the cash register." View Full Image Gap Inc. Gap is testing an accessories-only store, Edition, in San Francisco, above. Jewelry and bags can yield as much as double the 40% profit margins of apparel, though both vary greatly. The goods take up less space and have more of a timeless appeal, which helps retailers avoid the types of costly markdowns that have hurt results this year. Ed Bucciarelli, chief executive of Limited's Henri Bendel unit, describes the category as "season-less. ..which
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Retailers%20Highlight%20Accessories%20-layout - Retailers...

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