FURRIERS STRUGGLING

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1993:

If fur is making a comeback, it isn’t evident in the retail price index kept by
ANIMAL PEOPLE editor Merritt Clifton since 1988. The volume of fur merchandise
advertised in the greater New York metropolitan area as of Fur Free Friday 1993 was identi-
cal to 1992, as was the average price, excluding sable. The advertised volume of sable,
the highest-priced fur, was up fivefold, with the average price up from $25,000 to
$38,750––but the advertised volume of mink held steady, while the average mink price was
down 30%. “They’re in a steep slump and swinging for home runs to compensate,” Clifton
said. “Mink is traditionally 80% of their trade, but they aren’t picking up new customers
even at steep discounts, so they’re trying to buy sable low from the cash-strapped former
Soviet republics and sell it high to the handful of customers they’ve kept.” It’s too early to
project sales figures for the whole winter, Clifton continued, with the Christmas and
Valentine’s Day sales periods still ahead, “but so far there’s no sign that increased fur adver-
tising expenditures are significantly paying off. They’re just spending more money to stay
where they are.” Just before the fall fur ad blitz began, Evans Inc., accounting for roughly
10% of U.S. retail fur sales, reported a second-quarter drop of 7.4% in same-store sales as
compared to last year.

The free trade agreement between
the U.S. and Canada and the declining
Canadian dollar have boosted fur garment
manufacturing in Montreal and Toronto at the
apparent expense of New York and Southeast
Asia. Canadian fur garment exports.––which
account for just a fraction of the total Canadian
fur trade––were up 38% during the first half of
1993, while exports to the U.S. were up 75%,
to $21 million. But that’s still only half the
1987 volume.
The Baltimore public schools have
banned fur garments, along with other cost-
ly apparrel that administrators have often
found linked with the schoolyard drug trade.
The National Trappers Assoc-
iation is trying to collect a 1% levy on pelt
sales by trappers. “It is estimated that at least
90% of the trappers do little or nothing to sup-
port the efforts of organized trapping to protect
our industry,” explained NTA marketing
director Steve Greene to pelt buyers and deal-
ers,” Greene estimates that establishing the
levy will take three years.
Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *