Clothing sales start to rebound

Clothing sales have started to rebound as coronavirus lockdowns are lifted across the country, according to market research firm The NPD Group. In particular, consumers have focused on seasonal summer clothing, including shorts and swimwear. The change in clothing spending could also have an effect on promotional clothing needs in the future.

“Clothing was a low priority at the start of the COVID-19 crisis when consumers focused on things like groceries and other home necessities, but we are seeing evidence that clothing is entering the market again. overall spending considerations, ”said Maria Rugolo, apparel industry analyst at NPD. “Warmer weather is spreading over much of the country, allowing consumers to extend their predominantly home routines to the outdoors and expand their clothing needs beyond comfort and dressing beyond. above the keyboard. “

Clothing sales in US dollars in the last week of April were 35% lower than the same week in 2019, but this decline is only half of what it was at the lowest point. of the pandemic. Summer clothing accounted for almost a fifth of total clothing spending, a higher percentage of spending for this category than at the same time last year. Steadily rising sales of many basic clothing categories, including underwear and sleepwear, offset the sharp decline in dollar sales of custom clothing since the start of the pandemic. Basic clothing accounted for 25% of clothing sales in the last week of April, up from 17% last year.

“Needs and behaviors will continue to change with each phase of the country’s reopening and post-crisis recovery, but it is encouraging to see consumers showing interest in adding to their wardrobe,” said Rugolo. “Harnessing that interest with a focus on needs and an underlying desire for normalcy will be essential to capturing apparel sales along the uncertain road ahead. “

In another encouraging sign, CNBC reports that teen-focused retailer Abercrombie & Fitch is returning to sales levels of around 80% from the same period a year ago. (The brand reported a sales decline of more than 30% in its most recent quarter, due to the coronavirus pandemic.) As lockdowns begin to lift in various states, Abercrombie & Fitch has reopened 45 % of its stores in the United States, or 285 Locations. Abercrombie CEO Fran Horowitz told CNBC the brand has exceeded its own sales targets.

Analysts attribute the stronger-than-expected sales to teens who may be less afraid than older generations of going to the mall and shopping right now. “The invincible teenage consumer seems willing and eager to return to the physical world,” said Stacey Widlitz, president of SW Retail Advisors, in an interview with CNBC.

Overall, mall retailers are doing better than many expected. Experts had predicted that these stores would account for around 25% to 30% of sales volume compared to normal levels. However, many are getting closer to 55% when they reopen, according to Jan Kniffen, CEO of J Rogers Kniffen WWE Consulting Group. “It really looks like a V-shaped recovery if you look at retailers,” he told CNBC.


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