It’s no surprise that some of the stalwarts in the sportswear arena have been struggling of late.
Ralph Lauren, whose polo has long been an industry staple, is in the midst of a major restructuring as revenues continue to shrink. After a rocky 18 months under Stefan Larsson as chief executive officer, the company named Patrice Louvet of Procter & Gamble to the top spot to help the brand navigate the rapidly changing fashion landscape.
But the company is not alone is searching out ways to reverse its fortunes. Nautica recently had a change at the top, tapping Brendan Sullivan from VF Corp., its parent company, to succeed Karen Murray as president. And J. Crew has also had its share of problems: longtime chief Millard “Mickey” Drexler stepped down as chief executive officer and handed the reins to West Elm’s James Brett.
As these companies work to right their ships, other brands have started to make headway. Thanks to a Nineties resurgence, Tommy Hilfiger is hot again and other labels such as Vineyard Vines and Psycho Bunny continue to gain momentum. Although the bulk of the sales for these large American brands come through bricks-and-mortar stores, the online competition continues to heighten, particularly for the big aggressive international players.
Katie Smith, senior analyst of Edited, a retail technology and analytics firm, ran the numbers for the best-selling polos and casual pants online in the U.S. from July 2016 through June 2017. These brands have been selling out at full price or at no higher than a 35 percent discount, and were replenished at least once.
According to Edited, in polo shirts, Fred Perry came in first, followed by Lacoste, Asos, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Under Armour, Boss Orange, Jack & Jones, Aéropostale and Majestic.
In casual bottoms, which includes denim and casual pants, the top seller was Asos, followed by Dickies, Diesel, New Look, G-Star, River Island, Seven For All Mankind, Pull & Bear, Jack & Jones and Joe’s Jeans.
Although some of the names are surprising — Pull & Bear is owned by Zara parent Inditex and Jack & Jones is a division of Bestseller of Denmark — it’s further evidence that the world is getting smaller and smaller and American brands need to up their game to ensure they continue to get their share.