Retailers turn targets to men - East Valley Tribune: Business

Retailers turn targets to men

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Posted: Sunday, April 4, 2004 7:50 am | Updated: 5:45 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

NEW YORK - Is the Y chromosome evolving? Are guys really starting to care more about things like where to bargain-hunt for clothes, and what’s the best skin cream?

A new shopping magazine is being closely watched by industry experts and advertisers to see if men actually want more help than a wife or girlfriend — if they have one — can provide.

Then again, some may well buy Cargo magazine just to get through the whole shopping experience more quickly.

‘‘I have a sense of style, and want what is trendy, but I don’t have a lot of patience looking for things,’’ said Wilson Cleveland, 29, of Manhattan.

Cleveland spends about $500 a month on himself, and used to do almost all his buying at few stores: Clothes from Banana Republic, J. Crew or the Gap; gadgets from Circuit City, furniture from Pottery Barn or Ikea. ‘‘Admittedly, I closed off many options,’’ he said.

Then he picked up Cargo, which Conde Nast Publications introduced on newsstands in March. He immediately spent $300 on shirts and skin creams from stores he had never previously shopped at, including Lacoste and Sephora.

‘‘This tells me where to go, and I don’t even have to go looking for it,’’ he said.

Cargo is considered the biggest launch ever for a men’s magazine, based on the 99 pages of advertising in the premiere issue. Conde Nast, which also publishes the highly successful women’s shopping magazine Lucky, is targeting Cargo to men ages 25 to 45.

Stores including Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue and manufacturers such as Oxen Workwear have reported an uptick in sales of products featured in the mag- azine. Designer John Varvatos, for instance, has practically sold out of a $120 sneaker for Converse at his stores.

That’s catching the attention of other retailers and advertisers. They believe the success of publications like Cargo — some competitors will be coming out soon — would provide more evidence of a change in male attitudes toward shopping.

‘‘Men do like to buy things. They just like more information’’ than women, said Cargo publisher Alan Katz.

He says sales at newsstands have been strong, based on preliminary reports, but couldn’t offer figures.

In particular, sellers of men’s clothing — which have been struggling more than women’s — could benefit if they found more effective ways to reach customers, according to Marshal Cohen, senior industry analyst at NPD Group, a market research company.

Eddie Bauer ran a threepage ad in Cargo’s premiere edition highlighting rugged outerwear such as sweaters and army style pants.

‘‘We are watching to see how it helps validate what we already know about men,’’ said Eddie Bauer spokeswoman Lisa Erickson. ‘‘Men want shopping to be easy. They want to know the benefits of the garments more so than women.’’

The Redmond, Wash.-based retailer could end up reevaluating how it communicates to men, described by Erickson as a tough audience to reach.

Jeffrey Potter, for one, said he doesn’t want to be ‘‘pushed around by marketers.’’

‘‘I still think when it comes to fashion, the more independent we are, the more we are able to express ourselves,’’ said Potter, 35, of Madison, Wis., who sticks to catalog retailers like L.L. Bean and Patagonia.

About half of Cargo’s editorial content is focused on fashion and grooming. The rest covers such areas as entertaining, including wine, electronic gadgets and cars.

The premiere issue offers advice on how to pick the right cut suit for your body, a lowdown on digital camcorders and a review of premium rums.

Unlike Lucky, which resembles a catalog, Cargo does have short articles.

‘‘The main difference is that Lucky celebrates shopping as a pastime,’’ said Ariel Foxman, Cargo’s editor in chief. ‘‘For men, it’s about minimizing time shopping to maximize the pleasure of actually enjoying the purchase.’’

Both Lucky and Cargo include stickers that readers can use to earmark products that they like. Lucky stickers are usually in bright colors and say ‘‘Yes’’ and ‘‘Maybe.’’ Cargo’s are more austere, in manly tones of brown.

Cargo also offers something extra, presumably for men who won’t be seen carrying a shopping magazine into a store: Wallet-sized tear-out cards with product tips.

It’s not the first shopping magazine for men. Complex magazine came out in April 2002, but targets trendsetters and views itself as more multicultural.

Sonya’s Skincare Salon, which specializes in services such as hair removal, has increased its advertising to men in the past year and plans to open a separate section for them.

‘‘Women don’t mind waiting. Men really want to be in and out,’’ said owner Sonia Menezes.

Men now account for 40 percent of the clientele at the New York-based salon, and Menezes said business has increased since it was featured in Cargo.

Bergdorf Goodman launched its first major advertising campaign for men this spring, which helped drive traffic to the stores.

It has also changed the way it merchandises men’s clothing, mixing jackets with jeans, instead of featuring categories separately.

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