The Handbag Buyer section of the April 1942 "Luggage & Leather Goods," page 33, opened with an editorial,
As the Handbag Editor Sees It
CUT DOWN ON WASTE
April 1942 "Luggage & Leather Goods," page 44
Retailers' Role in the War
To Sell a Billion Dollars of Victory Bonds and Stamps to the Consumers of America
By Major B. H. Namm President, The Namm Store
Major Benjamin H. Namm, in addition to being President of The Namm Store, Brooklyn, is the National Chairman of the Retailers for Defense and Chairman of the Retail Advisory Committee to the United States Treasury.
"In war-time, the retailer has a particularly important role to play. He is an integral part of the "tripod" so to speak, upon which our defense structure stands. The first leg of that tripod is the armed service, the soldiers and sailors who form the front line of defense. The second leg of that tripod is represented by manufacturers — who produce the machines and materiel necessary to preparedness. Last, but not least. come the retailers who assemble and distribute the goods so necessary to meet the vast and ever-increasing needs of that great and final group, our 130,000,000 consumers.
The retail stores of America have decided on their No. 1 Contribution to national defense. They have enlisted for the sale of United States Victory Savings Stamps and Bonds for the duration of the war. They received their "commission" on August 15 when Secretary Morgenthau said:
"Two million of our young men are in the armed forces. Many millions of others are giving their time, effort and experience toward the urgent fulfillment of the nation's immediate defense needs. But there remains the great majority of our people who, for one reason or another, cannot participate by direct effort in this great and urgent cause. You, the retailers of the country, are best equipped through your daily contact with these millions, to give them the opportunity they are seeking—the opportunity of lending a part of their daily earnings to the Government to be used in building up our national defense, to buy more guns and tanks, to build more ships and planes, to keep America as our fathers dreamed that it would be."
Retailing has become the third largest industry in the land, yielding-only to agriculture and manufacturing. According to the United States Department of Commerce, there are close to 2,000,000 retailers in the United States, doing an annual volume of fifty-three billions of dollars.
The Retail Advisory Committee of the United States Treasury has decided that retail merchants should have a quota for the sale of Victory Savings Stamps and Bonds for the year 1942. We arrived at this quota by taking 2% of the estimated volume of retail sales for the current year, which is approximately fifty-billion dollars. And so, in speaking to retailers, we shall talk in terms of their selling Victory Stamps and Bonds to the extent of at least 2% of their sales. To the public, however, we shall talk in terms of a billion-dollar quota, without mentioning the percentage.
We hope to attain that quota by the following means: By offering stamps throughout the entire store, mentioning stamps in every advertisement, making stamps available to every clerk who handles cash, training clerks to say "May I give you part of your change in stamps," putting on contests among salesclerks, maintaining permanent window displays. We further plan to encourage the sale of stamps and bonds to employees by means of the payroll allotment plan, the organization of "Buy-a-stamp-a-week" Clubs and through departmental contests.
The arguments that we expect to use are as follows:
Let us have no illusions on this subject. The job is not going to be an easy one, As a matter of fact, the immediate future is dark. Not dark with despair but dark because there are so many things that must be done—hard things that have to be done quickly. But let us never lose sight of the fact that, by the long view, the future is bright as day. This dark hour is but an incident in the great history of a free people who are determined, at all costs and sacrifices, to remain forever free.
April 1942 "Luggage & Leather Goods," page 46
Quality Dominates Bag Sales
Knowing That Accessories Must Last Longer Than Usual Chicago Women Are Buying Better Handbags——Colors Important
By Marie Carter
Quality epitomized the March handbag market in Chicago. Bearing in mind that accessories now have to last much longer than usual, women bought better handbags. Handsome classic bags were most popular with simplicity of design and fine craftsmanship emphasized. Extreme fashions which might be obviously dated or out of style next year were shunned.
Snakeskin bags saw a brisk business—Carson's collection ranging from $5 to $18.50 with the volume at $5 and $10.50. Because snakeskin takes dye exceedingly well, these were especially well-liked in bright colors. The soft thinness of snake-skin coupled with its wonderful durability make these bags good examples of the functional beauty so in demand today.
Over-the-shoulder bags in fabrics and leathers from $3 to $10.50 were featured in an ad. Although some "early bird" shoppers were buying them in March, it was too early to predict the extent of their popularity as they are a typical suit fashion and winter-coat weather still prevailed in Chicago.
The price range for handbags is now considerably higher, but customers are not objecting to paying more for the quality and durability they seek. Calf bags which last year sold for $3 are now $3.95—and the true calf picture begins up around $5 and $6.
At Mandel's Kelly green stepped to the front, closely followed by turf tan and bright red.
Crisp faille bags moved well—part of their appeal due to the fact that they are a year-round fashion. Early in the season these bags were successful in black, brown and navy, and in March they began selling strong in Kelly green and red.
Patent leather still held, although faille bags and all colored fabrics or leathers cut into its volume. Alligator calf in high colors was exceptionally good presumably because of shoe tie-ups.
Tailored styles were favored at the expense of dressmaker and fussier types. Capacious bag's with numerous utility compartments were most in demand. Crystal and gold clasps and trim were found on many bags to alleviate the tailored severity.
Shoulder bags were not very important during the month, but their future popularity is predicted. Handbag sales during March showed a steady increase with no indication of scare buying or hoarding.
At Field's an old favorite Balenciaga Brown was the best seller of the high colors. This color has been going strong for three years, and it really rang the bell this March as it was tanned in smooth calf for the first time. Red, green and all the beige to brown shades were successful. The purple family was extremely popular and Field's new lilac promises to meet with much customer approval.
By the publication of the August 1942 "Luggage & Leather Goods," restrictions on more than materials for bag construction were beginning to impact retailers. Salesmen's travel by plane, train AND automobile was increasingly difficult. So "Luggage & Leather Goods" stepped up to provided advertising to replace salesmens visits. (page 14 )
YOUR TIRE-LESS SALESMAN
WE'RE not exactly back to the horse 'n buggy days, but with rationed gas pumps and smooth tires, some of us might just as well be.
Page 24 of the same issue announces:
NO CHICAGO SHOW
"In compliance with the request of the Office of Defense Transportation that national conventions and trade shows be curtailed, the committee in charge of the Luggage and Leather Goods Exposition, held each February in Chicago, has decided not to hold this show in February, 1943."
August 1942 "Luggage & Leather Goods," Page 33 "Handbags Buyer" seaction of the
PANIC BUYING CEASES
"It is reported by leading manufacturers that fall buying has taken on a more normal aspect than buying in the spring. The early scare concerning inventory control resulted in business slowing up almost to a standstill. However, buyers now are covering the market and placing orders that approximate normal for this time of year. Generally speaking, it is believed that the possibility of inventory control is still imminent. At least retailers on their initial buying trips are not buying more than they need."
FALL BAGS SELLING EARLY
Retailers in leading key cities report that dark fall bags are beginning to move over-the-counter. Customers approve dark faille, corded fabric, suede and broadcloth. Bags of this type make excellent transition fashions. They are decidedly smart as accents with summer dresses and serve equally well when worn with new fall clothes.
WOOL LABELING REGULATIONS
As the fall season approaches and broadcloth, felt and other types of fabric bags enter your stocks, it is well to remember that all articles containing wool must be plainly labeled. The exact fiber content; namely amount of new wool, reused wool and other material must be plainly stated.