The famous American dream has taken the world in its grip.
Billions, on the lookout for good opportunities, are working hard towards settling down in the country. The prosperity of the United States of America can be measured by its Gross Domestic Product calculated to be US$ 17.710 trillion in the first quarter of 2015. One of the most promising sectors in the country's textile industry. Apart from giving various countries tough competition in terms of quality, it has grabbed fourth spot in global export value behind China, India, and Germany.
Exports of textiles also increased by 45 per cent between 2009 and 2014 to US$ 18.3 billion. Contrary to these figures are reports that decreasing demand in domestic market is having an adverse effect on apparel retail business. From changing customer preferences to hunger for innovation, there are several factors ruining the smooth journey of apparel retail in the United States of America. Even lower gas prices, which result in more money savings for consumers, have failed to ignite higher spending, probably because consumers believe the price drop is not permanent.
Vulnerable apparel retail market
The apparel sector is highly vulnerable to economic shocks as purchase of clothing items is largely optional in comparison to other consumer goods. The brittle and slow recovery of the country's economy has brought a sharp decline in retail apparel sector sales there. Clothing and clothing accessories store sales declined in April 2015 from March 2015 levels, reaching US$ 20.4 million, according to latest data from the United States Department of Commerce. According to a separate report by the United States Labor Department, receipts at clothing stores fell 0.8 per cent in early 2015.
Local clothing brands were hopeful about sales in March and April, as the drop in February was largely attributed to winter storms and it being a relatively small month with fewer days for sales. Apparel retail store Cato Corp registered a decline of 10 per cent in February, which was shocking as the retail store was basking in its new-found glory of 14 per cent rise in sales in January. Another retail giant, Gap, reported a decline of seven per cent in Gap label and five per cent drop at Banana Republic. Old Navy, another successful apparel brand, experienced flat store sales. Sale at The Buckle which has 460 stores in the country, declined from US$ 89.5 million in January 2015 to US$ 88.6 million in February 2015.
"With the continued increase of online sales threatening the traditional brick-and-mortar retail model, retailers and brands must be quick to adapt to the changing needs of the online shopper," said the NPD Group's chief industry analyst, Marshal Cohen.
For some other brands like L Brands, which owns Victoria's Secret, La Senza and Pink, the sailing was smooth as store sales grew by six per cent. The net sales of the stores were also up by seven per cent and stood at US$ 806.1 million in comparison to US$ 750 million in 2014.