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Men’s Wear Sales Rise 5.2% in 2013

Growth rate exceeds 3.7 percent for women’s apparel, according to NPD.

Men’s wear grew at a faster pace than women’s apparel last year, increasing its take at retail 5.2 percent to $60.8 billion from $57.8 billion in 2013.

According to a tabulation of apparel sales by The NPD Group, 12 of 13 categories within men’s apparel experienced sales increases in the U.S. last year, with the largest category, men’s tops, down 2 percent, the only exception. Tops, which include woven and knit sport shirts as well as dress shirts and sweaters, accounted for $21.9 billion in sales. Men’s pants’ volume increased 12 percent to $4.8 billion, NPD said, while jeans rose 4 percent to $5.6 billion. Socks sales were up 14 percent, to $2.8 billion, with increases in price per unit accounting for 12 percent and increased units the other 2 percent of the gain.

Cold weather helped men’s outerwear sales increase 12 percent over 2012 levels to $4.5 billion but, as seen in the higher average price for socks, utility wasn’t the principal propellent for the better results, according to Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD.

“Innovation and men’s perception of fashion contributed to an increase in spending in 2013,” he said.

NPD reported last month that women’s sales rose 3.7 percent to $116.4 billion.

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All channels of distribution except national chains, a category including midtier merchants J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and Kohl’s Corp., experienced increases in men’s wear sales last year, NPD said. National chain sales were off 2 percent to $7.4 billion, with the dollar total just ahead of the $7.1 billion sold by off-price retailers, whose men’s wear sales rose 6 percent.

Specialty stores remained the largest channel for men’s wear activity, with revenues up 2 percent to $15.8 billion, followed by department stores and mass merchants, both of which had 6 percent increases to grow to $9.5 billion and $9 billion, respectively. Their men’s wear sales were up 6 percent each. Warehouse club sales were up 6 percent as well, advancing to $1.3 billion.

Men’s wear purchases on Web sites increased 19 percent over those in 2012, accounting for 14 percent of the men’s market, or about $8.3 billion. The average price for in-store purchases rose 3 percent last year while the median for online purchases declined 7 percent.

Cohen noted that brick-and-mortar retailers “need to disregard antiquated marketing and sales strategies and adjust their tactics to better accommodate the whims of online shoppers, including the development of more dynamic pricing models, enhancing selections and addressing convenience.”