Walking the neighborhood mall earlier this weekend, on and on through one store to another, watching customers, and just how these were reacting to merchandise, it had been difficult to escape the idea that fashion apparel retailing is within trouble. Customers passing by stores, searching in home windows and doorways, indifferent to what they’re seeing. Customers in shops, aimlessly touching clothes because they undertake the shop without purpose. Customers departing stores empty handed, without buying.
So that as I shopped personally, I felt things i was observing during these customers, women and men, youthful and old there is nothing compelling, there is no emergency, it is simply… stuff.
Of all of the major retail segments, possibly only jewellery is under more stress than fashion apparel. Nothing except jewellery has apparently be discretionary than fashion apparel. Shopping fashion at this time seems like witnessing the after affects of the retail bubble getting burst.
Within the last 20 to twenty five years, fashion apparel retailing exploded with new concepts, segments and retailers. Money was easily available and consumers jumped around the fashion train, and went along for that ride. Shopping these stores now’s like experiencing a morning-after hangover. What once looked highly differentiated now looks eerily exactly the same. What once looked exciting and classy now seems dull and passé. Stores which were once filled with merchandise, customers and are actually lacking of three.
The final time we had profound alterations in fashion apparel retailing was throughout the ’81-’82 recession. Customers found mall assortments to become dated and dull, and also the stores responded by growing the amount of marketing occasions they ran annually from 3 or 4 to 12 or 15, enroute towards the permanently-on-purchase store. Designer shops-within-a-store emerged instead of category merchandising. New concepts such as the Gap and also the Limited came in this area. Nothing came between Brooke Shields and her Calvin’s.
Is that this an identical inflection point? Was there a way apparel bubble that progressively developed in the last several decades, and it has it now burst?
In the last few years, consumers have looked within their closets, and from necessity have stated that is what there’s adequate. They have looked within their closets and seen their very own… stuff, and lots of have most likely wondered when they really required to buy everything to begin with. The unanswered real question is whether this really is just a brief reaction to the current recession, or if this reflects a far more profound transfer of consumer’s attitudes and shopping patterns. Clearly, likely to imbalance right now between demand and supply.
Some way, there might be little question the competition popular apparel retailing will probably be ferocious for that near future. For independent fashion apparel retailers, the task is to differentiate yourself in the pack and truly distinguish yourself inside your customer’s mind. Success will be based upon achieving critical mass together with your subscriber base, upon creating yourself together with your target customer because the retail fashion destination of preference. The mission is to become noted for the style buzz that surrounds your store, instead of being referred to as yet another store that carries indistinguishable stuff.