Blog: Conservative fashions won't drive sales
Leonie Barrie | 14 August 2009
Let's face it, nobody needs another pair of jeans or another T-shirt. Indeed, industry observers have long bemoaned that fact that there are no strong fashion trends around at the moment to drive apparel and footwear sales – and the fact that shoppers are buying anything at all is largely due to markdowns.
Are there any signs this might change sometime soon? Not according to Liz Claiborne CEO William L McComb, who shed some light on retail thinking in a conference call earlier this week.
He said department stores “have told us that they want a stronger presence of both replenishment and seasonal key items from historically proven winning product categories like cut and sew knits, sweaters, and pants.
“In general they are looking for more basics as they are taking very conservative approaches to fashion.”
And this is despite trials carried out by the company through 43 shop-in-shops that are selling to a younger clientele, with more fashion items than before, and average unit revenues that are “significantly higher than we’ve seen in years.”
Surely, if this is typical retailer response to the product and merchandising mix, then an uptick in profits is going to be a long way off.
Compare this with the formula already proven by the likes of Zara, H&M and Topshop, which shows providing consumers with what they want and fast, and reducing margins to keep prices down, can still generate sales when times are tough.
Interestingly, McComb also casts doubt on whether lower inventories are going to help retailers boost their profits.
He points out that strong unit volume sales last year were driven by aggressive promotions to clear inventory. But with stock levels this year lower than ever, “we are not banking on a material rebound in pricing to cover the lost units.”
Confirmation that digital supply chains are top of mind for apparel industry executives came last week with the latest plans from global sourcing specialist Li & Fung....
As a barometer of the issues top of mind for apparel sourcing executives, it is hard to beat the annual Prime Source Forum in Hong Kong. ...
Over the past month, Donald Trump and his team failed to offer any clear plan to ensure Americans would "Buy American, Hire American" - while the British government's attempts to clarify the specifics...
The Bangladesh government was forced to respond late last week to pressure over its crackdown on labour activists after a number of global brands and retailers, including H&M and Inditex announced pla...
- Using worker surveys to drive supply chain change
- Trump and Brexit get a dose of pragmatism
- Rana Plaza four years on – Timeline of change
- No US rush to Myanmar despite end to sanctions
- Where does VF supply chain sit in growth strategy?
- Amazon wins on-demand apparel manufacturing patent
- Driving ban intensifies Myanmar logistics hurdles
- Trump bolsters "buy American" with executive order
- Inditex, Adidas and Patagonia top ethical report
- Calls for supply chain transparency standard
- Global market review of denim and jeanswear – forecasts to 2022
- When Things Go Wrong - A Practical Guide to Managing Common Problems in Apparel Sourcing
- Myanmar - ISA Country Report
- Southeast Asia strategic sourcing review – a focus on Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar
- Clothing Market in the Top 5 American Countries to 2021 - Market Size, Development, and Forecasts