(Filed Under wholesale Costume News). Jon McCommack of AAArdvark discussed how sales went for Halloween 2013 with BODY associate publisher Ted Vayos, as our series on the costume market continues.
VAYOS: How was your Halloween?
MCCOMMACK: Our Halloween was mediocre this year. It was good enough to keep us in business, just enough to make it worth our while. The perceived bad economy and the large number of temp stores have negatively impacted this business. The dollar numbers are higher, but the sell through is down. We definitely sold a smaller percentage, below last year, but we actually took in more money. Like everyone else in this business when Halloween dating comes on the 10th all of it goes out again. A really large factor is the internet. Many of our customers have tried shopping online and the ones we are seeing are unhappy with the quality and fit. Halloween has such a tiny window 10-12 days for people to do their shopping, most wait to the very last minute. When the costume arrives it doesn’t look anywhere near as nice as the merchandise we stock in our stores. The customer comes to us because they will get better quality for the money. We are competing against the Spirit’s a City’s of this world. They will offer a costume for $39.99 that is a piece of crap. We will compromise our margins to offer our customers quality you can see over the competition. We have an advantage since Aaardvark is open year around, our customers are coming back next week. We’ve been in business 42 years. Our business is based on reputation and word of mouth. Our biggest problem is that our store is only 1400 square feet and that we don’t do children’s costumes.
VAYOS: How did sexy costumes sell this year?
MCCOMMACK: I wouldn’t say it was strong this year. Many people were looking to customize something they already had for Halloween. The sexy costumes are not nearly as strong as they were 5 years ago. A lot more people are doing zombie stuff and the Day of the Dead. Everyone was more concerned with themes this year. We are not a lingerie/costume specialty store. Costumes like flappers and pirates sell well for us.
VAYOS: Who was your key suppliers this season for sexy costumes?
MCCOMMACK: We did well with Leg Avenue costumes this year. Some of their key styles this season was the sultry S.W.A.T., cat suits, cougar and wild cat. We also had the Disney Jasmine and the Belle from Leg Avenue. We got them in June and did better selling them before Halloween than during Halloween. Every girl wants to be a princess, especially at that reasonable price point. We did really well with the Dreamgirl stuff this year, not their super sexy, more middle of the road. These girls wanted to look good not slutty. Dreamgirl was our primary supplier for new costumes this year but we spent more with Leg Avenue. Bewitched - no not really, some things we’ve been buying. Same stuff from the last three years.
VAYOS: Did any of your suppliers or your costume purchases disappoint you this year?
MCCOMMACK: Leg Avenue went away from one of our strongest theme sellers 60-70s costumes. There was also less male participation then there was in previous years in our market place. The men’s Leg Avenue Prince Charming and the Beast were a total flop. We even had them showcased. The guys wouldn’t even look at it.
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