BERLIN — Germany’s apparel retailers are looking forward to better days in 2015, the German Apparel Retailers Association, or BTE, said at its annual press conference in Cologne Monday.
BTE president Steffen Jost reported about 40 percent of the nation’s fashion stores are expecting a sales gain in 2015, with another 37 percent forecasting flat sales. “However, in light of the generally good economic conditions, if the weather cooperates, a small single digit plus should be possible,” Jost added.
Last year saw a minimal uptick in German apparel and home textiles retail sales, but results varied considerably depending on the store’s size and distribution type, the BTE pointed out. Turnover declined about one to two percent at the nation’s medium-sized boutiques and specialty stores, whereas vertical chains could slightly increase sales, primarily due to expansion. Same-store sales were not ahead across the board, Jost said, without providing figures.
In total, the German apparel and home textiles retail market generated around 60 billion euros, or $79.76 billion, in sales in 2014, according to preliminary figures. The nation’s apparel specialty store retailers contributed about half of that sum, or $39.88 billion, plus another 14 million euros, or $18.61 billion in apparel and home textiles turnover from the nation’s department stores, supermarket discounters and other outlets. Sales results for 2013 were roughly on par.
E-commerce apparel and home textile sales hit about 9 billion euros, or $11.96 billion, up from 8 billion euros, or $10.6 billion, in 2013. Mail order sales were estimated at 11 billion euros, or $14.62 billion. All dollar figures are converted from the euro at an average exchange rate for the respective periods.
In addition to unseasonably warm fall weather, which led to high inventories and early markdowns, the greatest challenges facing Germany’s medium-sized fashion retailers last year were falling consumer traffic and growing online competition. In the most recent BTE survey, three-quarters of the participating retailers noted their customer base had narrowed.