Following years of steady sales declines, sheer hosiery remains one of the fashion industry’s most challenging categories. What used to be a staple for women, whether they were working or not, has become a beleaguered sector plagued by years of fashion trends that shun sheers. The working woman of the Eighties, with her skirtsuit, sheer hosiery, socks, sneakers and pumps, has been replaced by women in trousers and skirts with bare legs, whatever the temperature.

Sales of hosiery units plunged 33 percent in 2002 over 2001, marking the steepest drop among all legwear categories, according to marketing information from The NPD Group, Port Washington, N.Y. The number of sheer hosiery units sold fell to 398 million, while total hosiery unit sales for women fell 15.4 percent to 1.22 billion.

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