The Great ('08) Missed Opportunity

There are few retailers having "break-out" business right now.

That being said, I wondered if there are any glaring missed opportunities by the major retailers at the moment. It took less than 15 minutes to not only come up with a HUGE missed opportunity, but to have it confirmed by multiple sources as an item each and every one of them had to find new resources to purchase.

The Item.....Barack Wear!!!

Since, at least early February the Obama phenomenon has been in full swing, with a multitude of industries, esp. media, riding his coat-tails to unprecedented growth in their respective trades.  Perhaps none more so than apparel-makers, all mired in what has been a long (well in excess of a year) stretch without an "it" item.  Well the "it" item has been "anything Obama!"

While it is quite easy to say this election has not been decided yet, there is no denying the Obama behemoth in regards to merchandising sales. 

I checked the websites of Saks, Neiman's, Nordstrom, Bergdorf, Bloomingdales and Macy's, nothing! To be fair, I also checked Target, Sears and Kohl's, they also were not selling anything in their apparel divisions.

This cash cow has been left to the online market ENTIRELY! A cursory Google search for Obama merchandise will provide one thousands of shopping options, from doggie-tee's for $9.00 to the Swarovski crystal t-shirt pictured above on sale for $189.99 down from $380.00 at DesignerRhinestoneFashion.com. One retailer, Azalea Boutique, even sold jeans in a dark mocha color named "Obama".

There can be no doubt that designers took note of the Obama-phenomenon, as pointed out in last Saturdays Chicago Tribune. The major retailers will have little choice but to carry the goods come Spring 2009, as many top designers, such as Zac Posen, chose to run with Obama themes and influences for their upcoming collections.

The estimates for how much Obama merchandise has sold from January 2008 to now range from $200 million to $1.4 billion, depending on the source. If he is become President-elect, sales are expected to explode for the foreseeable future. Even if you settle somewhere in the middle of those figures, one question comes to mind....

How did all the smart people at these companies miss this opportunity?

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