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IBM forecast: Q1 sales poised to rise

Armonk, N.Y. -- An analysis released Thursday by IBM projected that retail sales are positioned for increases across a broad spectrum of categories.

According to the study, the surge will be led by a projected 8.2% rise in men’s apparel sales.

“The forecast of men’s apparel sales reflects a growing trend: men are definitely developing a taste for fashion – especially in business attire,” said Jill Puleri, global retail leader for IBM Global Business Services.

For men’s apparel, 2011 is shaping up to be the best year on record in terms of total sales; final Census figures are expected in February, said IBM.

In other categories, footwear sales are projected to be up 3% over 2010. Attractive promotions and changing weather patterns may account for the jump in sales in the fall 2011 run up to the holiday shopping season, according to the analysis.

For women’s apparel, 2011 sales are projected to be up 1.96% over 2010.

According to IBM, all indications are that personal disposable income continues to rise, while savings as a percent of personal disposable income continue to decline – meaning that people are saving slightly less. There has also been a recent increase in consumer confidence. These three factors combine to provide a good “tailwind,” indicating conditions that may lead to better future sales for the industry.

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