Apparel-oriented retailers continued in November to bear the scars of the share wars underway in the extremely promotional and hypercompetitive apparel retail market.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s advance monthly report released last week, total retail sales, which include gasoline, groceries and automobiles, were $465.5 billion in November—a respectable 3.8% increase over November 2015’s $448.7 billion. On a 12-month smoothed basis, sales rose 4.6%.
Apparel-centric channels failed to benefit from the gains, however.
Although clothing and accessories store sales managed to eke out a 0.9% increase to $21.4 billion, sales at department, chain and discount stores fell by 6.8% to $12.7 billion, bringing down the collective channel total, a reliable barometer of apparel retail sales, by 2.1% to $34.1 billion from $34.9 billion a year ago. On a 12-month smoothed basis, department store sales fell by 7 percent, and specialty store sales rose 1.3%, resulting in a collective decline of 1.6%.
Inventories are down across all key apparel channels this year as retailers seem to have successfully avoided the bloated inventories that wrought havoc on gross margin last year. Department store inventory in October (the most recent month for which data are available) fell by 6.6% compared to the same month last year, and specialty store inventory rose by only 0.5%. Inventory-to-sales ratios declined slightly for both channels.
Non-store retail sales, most of which is e-commerce, rose by almost 11 percent in November. Though growth has slowed in the sector in the past few months, most analysts are predicting significant share gains by pure-play e-commerce this holiday season.
Fulfilling the demands of fashion-forward consumers can be challenging in today’s retail market, but many brands are turning to influencers, including bloggers and designers, to heighten their clothing merchandise. From Target’s Victoria Beckham collaboration to Lidl’s Heidi Klum line, here’s who top brands are teaming up with to elevate their apparel offerings.Read more
eBay is gaining legs on other e-commerce players with its latest pricing initiative.Read more
Sears Canada might be the first shoe to drop for Sears Holdings, which still owns 12% of the business it spun off in 2012.Read more
It’s fun to find a steal at stores like T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. In fact, the off-price purveyor prides itself on that very treasure hunt. Now, however, some are calling into question the actual costs of getting the consumer such sweet deals.Read more
Whether it's wages, workload or working hours, some countries are worse than others when it comes to workers’ rights.Read more
Première Vision will broaden its offer of services tailored for the footwear industry at its next show in Paris. Plus, back-to-school sales are expected to increase by four percent.Read more