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Two apparel retailers, Coldwater Creek and Men’s Wearhouse, have marketing strategies going forward that are as different as the clothes they sell. But both of them are putting those initiatives in place to attack a tough economic environment.Coldwater Creek, the Sandpoint, ID-based retailer that targets women over 35, plans to cut advertising by 70%, according to this article. “We’re not going to market our way to greatness,” says Daniel Griesemer, the company’s president and CEO, stressing that Coldwater needs to focus more on fashion. “It’s got to come from an incredible product.”Houston-based suit-seller Men’s Wearhouse is going the other route. The company is stepping up its efforts “to not only bring in new customers but to strengthen the brand as well,” said Chairman George Zimmer during a conference call.Both retailers were hit hard by slumping fourth-quarter sales. Coldwater’s same-store sales plunged 19.2% year over year, and the company posted a $17-million net loss. Men’s Wearhouse experienced an 8.6% dip in its US stores, and net income fell to $14.8 million from $52.3 million during the same year-ago period. “It certainly feels like a recession,” Zimmer said.One thing we think is curious about these differing strategies is that we don’t ever recall seeing a Coldwater Creek commercial. But who can forget Zimmer’s sales pitch? We’d gamble that he’s a more recognizable retail executive to the general public than Lee Scott!So are these two retailer’s situations so different that they need to employ contrasting tactics? Or is there a clearcut way to battle the downturn by spending more, or cutting back, on marketing?

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