Blog: Leonie BarrieDismal December

Leonie Barrie | 14 January 2008

There were few signs of festive cheer in the US last week, as apparel chains revealed first figures for their sales over the Christmas period.

December – the most important month of the year for most retailers – was an overall disappointment as concerns about higher fuel and food costs, as well as declines in the credit and housing markets, led to lower traffic levels as consumers stayed away from the stores.

Analysts described it as the weakest holiday season since 2002, and even promotions, last-minute shopping and gift-card redemptions failed to uplift demand.

Department stores and specialty retailers were among the main losers. Gap, Kohl's, Limited Brands and Macy's missed analysts' forecasts, while Hot Topic, American Eagle Outfitters and Men's Wearhouse were among those who lowered their fourth-quarter profit forecasts.

Women’s apparel was one of the worst-performing areas, with a lack of strong fashion looks blamed for failing to excite shoppers with must-have trends.

Rare bright spots included discounters such as Wal-Mart Stores and off-price retailers Ross Stores and TJX Companies, which appealed to cash-strapped consumers seeking bargains.

There are now concerns that US retailers will have to continue to mark down sale merchandise as they try to clear unsold stock, and that this will not only put further pressure on profit margins but also lead to reductions in store personnel and even store closures.

US: Retailers' December 2007 sales roundup


Ethiopia unrest a sourcing risk?

Fashion retailer H&M and UK based glove and leather manufacturer Pittards both say they are monitoring the situation in Ethiopia closely after the country's government declared a state of emergency af...


Asia facing up to increased competition

Increasing competition for garment sourcing contracts is seeing China not only being challenged by other countries in Asia, but by sub-Saharan African and even Russian suppliers too. And it is pushing...


Cambodia raises garment worker wages

The monthly minimum wage for workers in Cambodia's textile, garment and footwear sector is set to rise to $153 from January next year, following a vote on the issue last week. The increase marks a ris...


Sportswear initiatives start to take shape

The results of two highly-anticipated initiatives in the sportswear sphere were revealed last week: the launch of Under Armour’s new UAS lifestyle brand and the first pair of running shoes created at ...

just-style homepage

Forgot your password?