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The Handbag Buyer section of the April 1942 "Luggage & Leather Goods," page 33, opened with an editorial,

As the Handbag Editor Sees It

Shoe and handbag tie-ups are paramount for accessory merchandising. The recent meeting in New York of the National Shoe Retailers Association, under the auspices of the Tanners' Council of America, brought forth some resolutions that should be taken into consideration by the handbag trade. Both manufacturer and retailer will be affected by what the shoe people are doing. "Cut down on waste and do more with less," was the general theme of all the resolutions. Five colors only were adopted, in addition to black. They are: Town Brown, Golden Tobacco, Turftan, Bluejacket and Kona Red. The tanners beseeched retailers not to ask for any additional colors. If everyone cooperates it is probable that the consumers' needs can be taken care of as dyestuffs are obtainable for colors selected.
Shoe manufacturers are expecting an increased demand for service types and good, comfortable walking shoes. They are planning their fall lines to incorporate this tailored trend and a direct opposite type in the dressy afternoon and cocktail shoes for after-five occasions. Nothing was said about real evening shoes and the manufacturers felt that whatever business developed, could be taken care of. Slack shoes for both country and street wear were discussed and business is anticipated along this line.
The alert handbag buyer and manufacturer will interpret the shoe picture for himself. What we must plan for the coming fall seems fairly obvious. Color, which has become such an important factor in fashion merchandising must be subdued. It won't have to be completely obliterated. As the tanners brought out, each of the five colors will produce several variations by way of finish, such as. antiquing and other processes. Handbag department volume should not fall off however. We find customers in every part of the country trading-up. Wholesale prices are soaring, too. Even if you will have to miss out on the plus-business which your fancy colors produce, we believe that you can keep up dollar volume by carrying more luxury bags which are easy to sell in this kind of a market. With more women taking to trousers, there is bound to be a demand for small slack purses. From all indications these will attain volume proportions. This is definitely extra business that should offset whatever loss you will suffer through the lack of fancy colors.
One major New York store recently published a large advertisement featuring its new "Save-It Service." The ad outlined the various services offered by the store, for the purpose of prolonging the life of, or reconditioning, all the things we use. Hosiery repair, furniture repair, shoe repair, etc. were mentioned as well as corset and handbag reconditioning. So far the handbag department has not actually suffered from lack of any type of merchandise. Deliveries may be slow because the manufacturers have to wait for zippers, frames, or ornaments. To date, we cannot honestly say that the war. has hit home very hard. What next fall will bring, we do not know.
The repair service angle is certainly one that should hold customers for your store, and your handbag department. Keep the customer interested in your department. When she thinks of handbags, she'll automatically think of your store. This type of service may not be profitable from the point of dollars and cents but taking the long range view of it, is much more vital at this time.
Those factors in our industry who have feared that -retail buying might be slowed up because of the large inventories stores are supposed to be carrying will be interested in the reports of department store sales compiled monthly by the Federal Reserve Banks throughout the nation. The latest of these reports show that in 1942 sales in handbag departments are running at least twenty percent ahead of the sales for the same period of 1941, arid these were in months when retail business is not expected to be particularly active ; especially in view of the post-Christmas demand.
If this pace continues, as it is expected, there is no reason to doubt that retailers will be active operators when the new season opens.
For the coming season it is highly probable that retailers will be most interested in handbags of the better qualities.

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:
(A) Our country is at war. Planes, tanks, guns and ships, etc., are now being turned out at a cost of a billion and a half dollars every month. Soon this amount will be doubled. This tremendous program of needed war material must be financed.
(B) The purchase of stamps and bonds does not constitute a "gift." It is an investment, the safest in the world. An investment not only for ourselves but for our children's children.
(C) The purchase of Victory Stamps and. Bonds will act as a much-needed "brake" upon excess spending. Family income this year will be up from 7 to 8 billions of dollars. If too much of that increased income is spent, rather than saved, commodity prices will inevitably be pushed up and up. The certain sequel will then be a runaway price market and, of course, inflation.
(D) Another reason for the purchase of Victory Savings Stamps and Bonds is that their purchase will act as a "cushion" against the severe shock that is bound to come when this cruel war is over. We must anticipate the reduction of income and the decreases in employment that will follow as surely as night follows day. We must make ready for that inevitable period of post-war adjustment by storing up an ample reservoir of Victory Savings.
(E) A final reason, is that unless the American system of private enterprise is ready and able to consummate the United States Victory Savings Program on a voluntary basis, it is only a question of time before the Government will be forced to do so on a compulsory basis. I feel convinced, however, that this recourse will not be necessary.

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.
Color too was important. Although functional in design, the new spring bags break all records for their colorful gaiety. The color picture became clearly defined in March as sales pointed out the significant color leaders from the myriad colors introduced in February. At Carson's, turf tan took top color honors, even leading navy, the usual spring favorite. Red was second in popularity, and third was the dark group composed of navy, black and dark brown. Dark brown was a surprisingly large seller both in leathers and fabrics. Kelly green was very successful, as were all the beige to brown tones and the purple shades. All in all, it is a tremendous color season for handbags.

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 )


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.
EVEN travel by train and plane has its restrictions. There are many calls your salesmen can no longer make.
THAT'S why so many manufacturers of luggage, leather goods, and handbags use LUGGAGE & LEATHER GOODS advertising as an integral part of their sales program. They know that buyers everywhere rely on this leading, specialized merchandising publication for news of the market, merchandising helps and new product sources.
TODAY, buyers are preparing for the busy Holiday selling-days ahead. They know that a tremendous spending power will be unleashed. So promote your luggage lines, leather accessories or handbags in the September issue of LUGGAGE & LEATHER GOODS. Your advertisement will be a straight-line, round-trip ticket to sales.
LUGGAGE & LEATHER GOODS makes ail the calls . . . it's the one tire-less salesman that "gets around."

Page 24 of the same issue announces:


"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


"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."


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.
It is important to note that despite the hot weather that has been prevalent in many parts of the country, both summer and fall accessories have been selling actively.
Handbag departments in New York present a colorful picture with bright calf, cape, and suede in the lead. One Fifth Avenue store offers bright bags with dark wool suits. These are the only color note and are most dramatic. Another store finds bright colored large cape bags around $4 selling actively. Suedes in new fall pastels around the same price are proving to be excellent sales-getters for early business.


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.
The Federal Trade Commission advises manufacturers, distributors, dealers and all persons concerned, to avoid the use of perforated or sectional labels and similar devices encouraging illegal and harmful results contrary to the public interest. The specified information of content and qualified name required on articles subject to the Wool Labeling Act is to be shown in complete and proper form upon the product at all times during its distribution, sale or resale in the trade, and when delivered to the ultimate purchaser or consumer.
Penalties are severe for violations. According to the law "any person who wilfully violates sections 3, 5, 8, or 9, (ib) of this Act shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not more than $5,000, or be imprisoned not more than one year, or both, in the discretion of the court; Provided, That nothing herein shall limit other provisions of this act."\\"

Categories: 1942

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