Using a proprietary research model that examines product offerings, influencers used by a brand or retailer, the overall consumer experience and the company’s omnichannel strategy and execution, Jane Hali, chief executive officer of Jane Hali & Associates LLC, identified “key trends and common threads” of this past earnings season.
On the product front, Hali said the wellness trend continued to show momentum with Lululemon Athletica, Kohl’s, Urban Outfitters, J.C. Penney, Macy’s, Nike and Target Corp., among several tapping into this shopper demand. “Wellness continues to be of major interest to consumers,” Hali noted. “Brands/Retailers are jumping on this category in any way they can. Many companies have reported activewear and sneakers (athletic footwear) to be two of their top performing classifications. [And] athletic brands have been focusing on growing their women’s business.”
With denim, Gap Inc., American Eagle Outfitters, Abercrombie & Fitch, Urban Outfitters and PVH all keyed into the right looks and fits. “Denim sales are on the rise,” Hali said, adding the firm “has noticed this category to be another key area of focus for retailers and brands. Key trends resonating with consumers include, light-washed denim, slashed knees, raw hems and slim leg to wider silhouettes.”
With outerwear, the weather was an important driver of sales — but not the only driving force. Hali said cold weather “positively affected sales, however, outerwear has become a statement piece and one of the ‘It’ items of the season. Coach has expressed interest in growing the category and [Lululemon]’s outerwear category did very well for them.”
Meanwhile, consumers are continuing to spend money “nesting” and sales of small home appliances were strong while Hali said that retailers have expanded their home goods assortments in recent quarters. And beauty — including fragrance — “has been another vehicle for growth for retailers and a top performer,” she said. “However, some department stores are still struggling as they have not updated their ‘beauty hall’ strategy.”
Regarding influencers, Hali said she’s “starting to see more collaborations between brands and mega influencers. Instagram is the number-one platform for fashion social media and it is shoppable in the U.S. and the U.K.”
With experiential retailing, American Eagle Outfitters, Nike, Target and Nordstrom, among several others, did particularly well this past earnings season — especially as “many brands are now creating pop-ups to test new ideas before launching new concepts,” Hali said, adding that companies are also continuing to make needed investments in mobile apps and digital platforms.
For more business news from WWD, see: