Are your customers fed up with bland, boring department store assortments?
During the first quarter, spending at the nation’s clothing and clothing accessories stores grew 2.7% on a year-over-year basis, reaching $55.4 billion, according to the US Census Bureau. Yet according to Yahoo News , ” The earnings of Nordstrom’s department store peers also declined in 1Q16, primarily due to the impact of weak sales and higher markdowns. The adjusted EPS of Macy’s (M), Kohl’s (KSS), and Dillard’s (DDS) declined by 28.6%, 50.8%, and 18.6%, respectively, in 1Q16.”
So if spending on apparel is up than maybe it is simply that dollars previously accumulated by big name brands usually seen at major department stores are being redirected toward other brands.  Are your customers fed up with bland, boring department store Assortments?  I think so.  Consumers are voting with their wallets.  They are bored with all the big department stores looking the same.  With the same brands, same product, and nothing unique that sets one chain off from another it’s easy to see why department stores are having a tough time of it.
Macy’s is trying to make shopping more fun, but are “selfie walls” and touch-screens gimmicks enough to turn their lackluster business around?
I believe that the stores are forgetting that main rule in fashion and that product is first and foremost.  Buyers no longer scour the market for what is new and fresh.  When I started in this industry a buyer was expected to shop new lines.  Now it seems as though they are discouraged.
In fact when a new brand tries to find out who their buyers is the stores won’t tell them!  It is as though this is a big secret!
You can’t even blame the buyers.  If they try something new and it doesn’t work than they are penalized.  If the brand is small and cannot afford to give the buyer markdown money than they are doubly penalized.
That is why the advent of the internet has changed the way consumers buy.  New fashion companies can now go direct to the customer and bypass the traditional department store route.  So when apparel sales are up and department store sales are down we know that the consumer is finding what they like somewhere else.
 

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