By  on December 30, 2009

Fashion’s battle to attract dollars from thrifty consumers highlights a larger, almost existential struggle for the future of the apparel industry — which is already losing its iron grip on consumers’ discretionary dollars.

Despite the collective sigh of relief that the holiday season wasn’t as bad as last year, recent sales trends are still a sobering reminder for retailers. The hottest items this holiday weren’t apparel related but instead were iPhones and other smart phones, BluRay DVD players — even toy hamsters.

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