Soft goods haven’t been as good for us this year and that’s about the same with everybody I talk to around here.
There are a lot of options out there and, as much as people are spending a little more this year, they’re making some decisions.
We had club 20th anniversary apparel that sold well and our corporate sales have been pretty good, but when you walk into a shop and look at the golf shirts, for example, there are a lot of choices, so you have to make sure you’ve got something different and new.
Also, I’m finding apparel is fitting differently nowadays. Some of the lines are slender fit for guys, that European look. It’s trendy and it’s great, but you have to have the right build for it, plus you have to get guys to change their traditional looks.
We haven’t had a really hot summer either, so that has an effect when your spring gets cut short as ours did.
With all of the options out there that I mentioned, you can only carry so much. We have our mainstays and, at this time of year, we’ve got suppliers coming to us now who want us to look at next year, even though we’re still trying to clean up this year.
It’s tough to give them those answers, but I know they need answers as well. The buying show is so crucial for us.
We’ll have an idea of what we’re doing, but you’ve got to find out what works and what doesn’t before committing. Half of a buying show is doing your actual buying, while the other half is talking to other people about what was successful for them, what worked and what didn’t work.
There’s a lot of networking that takes place at the buying shows and that’s even more crucial sometimes than picking what you’re going to sell.
Our head professional Gregg Schubert will have looked at apparel prior to the show and our other staff has looked at some as well, but honestly, I don’t see it until the show. I just don’t have the time in late summer/early fall to go and look at it.
At this time of year, I go into survival mode just to keep the operation going. My running joke is don’t ask me what I want to put in here until I can get rid of what I have this year.
Having said that, I do understand the supplier’s side of things because they’re trying to tie things up and make good decisions, inventory-wise. They need to know what’s ahead of them, but it’s pretty tough to pick right now.