What are American consumers buying this year? Men’s underwear and fleece hoodies, according to market research firm NPD Group.
Men’s underwear “is need-based, typically on an 18-to-24-month cycle,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for NPD, which released its apparel market category sales figures for the first half of 2009. “As long as that continues, it means that the consumer is out there spending on necessity.”
Number two-ranked fleecewear was a standout, particularly because of young consumers.
“The weather being cooler this year could have contributed to this as well, but really, fleece is more of a teen item — this was a category that did reasonably well for teen retailers,” said Christine Chen, retail analyst at Needham & Co.
She pointed out hoodies have been a key category for firms like New York-based Aéropostale, which targets 14- to 17-year-olds in Aéropostale stores and 7- to 12-year-olds through its P.S. from Aéropostale units. Both Aéropostale Inc. and Kearney, Neb.-based Buckle Inc., a big seller of hoodies, pulled well ahead of youth-focused competitors in quarterly results — and marginally above analysts’ consensus expectations.
Brands such as Alexander Wang, Southpole and Rock & Republic are also riding the hoodie wave, as they grow or introduce lines that include their own versions.
Looking ahead, Cohen said intimate apparel is an industry bellwether.
“It’s an important category to see how women are feeling again, and it reflects how much desire they have to buy,” he said. “This will tell us when the rest of the fashion market will start to make its move.”
Although most categories posted first-half sales declines compared with the same period a year ago, Cohen said certain segments of specific categories are strong.
“We clearly aren’t seeing huge top-line category growth,” he said. “However, if you dissect these categories by segments, you’ll find certain standouts — like denim for the bottoms category.”
Denim has been a top performer for retailers such as True Religion Inc., Chico’s FAS Inc. and Buckle. Gap Inc. is introducing an overhaul of its denim offering this month.
“Denim has held up really well in this environment, especially if you consider denim has been hot for five years now.…Retailers have been trying khakis and cords, but denim is the place to be,” Chen said.
“The multiple-use factor is huge,” she said. “Divide that cost by the number of occasions you wear it, and it’s cheap.”
Chen pointed out the segment has seen a lot of fashion newness and innovation.
“Premium denim may have peaked in 2005, [but] you have a move from boot-cut to skinny-cut in 2006,” she said. “The skinny is peaking now for people everywhere, not just New York and L.A. And now it’s the boyfriend cut emerging. If the actual silhouette changes, you have to go out and buy the latest. At all price points, jeans seem to be the bottom of choice.”
Peter Nordstrom, executive vice president and president of merchandising for Nordstrom Inc., said in a conference call this month premium denim “has held up pretty well. I think where vendors have been able to deliver newness, it’s worked.”
Recently-launched denim lines include: Reiss 1971 and denim veteran Michael Glasser’s latest venture, Cj by Cookie Johnson.
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)