Excerpt from Labor Bulletin of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Vol. 31: May, 1904
If the weather conditions are good and the demand Shown during the middle of April continues, a very good season's business will result. Not a few individual manufacturers report business fully as large as for the same season in 1903. A brisk business in June is generally anticipated. An increasing demand for tan-colored Shoes is noted in both Haverhill and Lynn, indicating a returning popularity for this style of goods. Some manufacturers report delayed orders owing to the inability of dealers to determine the popular feeling on this point. The regular foreign business shows about the same volume as last year; but owing to preferential tariffs, colonial demand is not so good as then. The Cuban demand indi cates an increase of nearly 700 per cent this year. The slipper trade shows about the same conditions as are presented for the Shoe business generally, except that rush orders for anything but kid goods are not noted.
Business in men's footwear in Brockton started in well at the begin ning of the season in December, and there was a good demand all through the Winter and Spring, but many manufacturers Of medium and the cheaper grades report a decided falling off in trade, amounting even to dullness during April, which is usually a busy month. The volume of business, however, has not quite equaled that for the same season Of the preceding year, and the outlook for the coming Summer and Fall trade is not very ﬂattering, if the reports of the salesmen furnish any criterion. Manufacturers of the higher priced Shoes report a good Winter's business and a fair Spring demand, fully as active as at the same period last year. In some quarters, an increased call for a cheaper Shoe than is usually kept by the retailer is noted, which recalls the prediction made a few years since by one Of the largest manufacturers of men's footwear, that in the near future the popular demand will be for a Shoe that will retail for instead of the prevailing price.
The same scale of wages obtains in the three cities as at the time of our Fall report, and, except the cut sole and grain counter workers' strikes in Lynn, no labor troubles are anticipated at present. A shoe manufacturers' association, designed to work along the same lines as those followed by the National Metal Trades Association, has been formed in Lynn. The cost of. Leather stock is about the same as last year, and prices are strong, especially on the lower grades of goat, while men's upper leather is about two cents higher. Cotton linings and satins are higher than last year. Selling prices are slightly higher than during the past year, although this situation does not extend to all grades. Collections have been generally from fair to good this Spring, but some slowness is reported during the months of February and March.
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