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Study Shows iPhone Craze Hurts Fashion Sales

Wells Fargo tracks the "iPhone Hangover."

NEW YORK — The new iPhones might take a bite out of fashion this month and next.

A Wells Fargo study found a potential correlation between the launches of previous iterations of the smartphone and deceleration in some retail sales. Apple’s released its new iPhone 5S and 5C on Friday.

“Clothing and accessories is one [sector] that gets hit pretty hard,” Wells Fargo senior analyst Matt Nemer said of what the bank dubs the “iPhone hangover.”

He pointed to data that illustrate a clear slowdown in growth in the clothing and accessories category during four of the six iPhone launches to date (with the exclusion of the iPhone 5S and 5C). The first-generation iPhone hit the market in June 2007.

The study looked at retail sales the month prior to, month of and two months following the launch of the six previous iPhones. Not surprisingly, electronic and appliance stores, as well as nonstore retailers (like Amazon or eBay), saw accelerated growth around the iPhone launches.

Further research conducted by Nemer and his team looked at sales during the quarter closest to an iPhone launch for individual retailers who don’t report sales on a monthly basis. Target and Nordstrom saw deceleration in five of the six launches, and Aéropostale, Williams-Sonoma and Lululemon saw deceleration in four of the six.

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“The retailers are confirming our study by their actions this past week,” Nemer said. “Wal-Mart announced they are discounting the iPhone right out of the gate, and eBay is promoting a trade-in for credit towards a new phone. That is what spurred the report — this confirmed iPhone traffic is really important to them.”

Factors such as T-Mobile’s monthly payment plan for the phone, and the relatively inexpensive 5C version of the iPhone, could lessen the impact of lagging sales this time, though.