In 1994 women spent over $4 billion on hosiery, primarily pantyhose and socks. Over the last six years total sales have been growing for each category, with pantyhose up about 34 percent and socks 41 percent higher. As a category, hosiery grew by more than 35 percent.
Mass merchants, discounters and food and drug stores dominate the distribution of hosiery. In 1989, discounters accounted for 24 percent of all hosiery sales, while food and drug stores accounted for 20 percent. By 1994, these two channels accounted for 46 percent of hosiery purchases, each adding a 1 percent market share over the six-year period.
Between 1989 and 1994, the department store share of the hosiery market dropped from 16 percent to 12 percent. Penney’s share also declined from 6 to 5 percent. Specialty stores held their share at 8 percent while catalog and other direct mail channels gained market share from 10 to 13 percent. Distribution by outlet for pantyhose followed a similar pattern. Food and drug stores accounted for 26 percent of pantyhose sales in 1989; by 1994 these retailers’ share had grown to 28 percent. In 1989, discount and department stores each had a 17 percent share of the pantyhose market. Last year, the department store share was down to 13 percent, while discounters held their share at 17 percent. Over the six years, specialty stores and Penney’s held their shares of the pantyhose market at 7 percent and 6 percent, respectively. Direct mail’s share, however, grew to 16 percent from 14 percent.
Discounters dominate the distribution of women’s socks, accounting for 42 percent of sales in 1989 and almost half (46 percent) in 1994. Over the six years, department stores lost market share, dropping to 10 percent from 14 percent, while specialty stores gained a point in share as it moved to 11 percent from 10 percent.