San Francisco The nation’s women are wearying of their old wardrobes and are starting to freshen their attire with new purchases, according to a report by Reuters,
Bucking the existing trend to forego clothing purchases in a tight economy, an increasing number of U.S. women are opting to replenish their closets thanks to better consumer confidence, good bargains and improved fall fashions.
"After two years, she's saying, 'Finally, I need a few things for myself!'" Lisa Walters, a principal with research and consulting firm Retail Eye Partners, told Reuters.
Retailers from Nordstrom to J.C. Penney to Chico's have noted stronger apparel purchases by women in recent weeks. The trend has been helped by cooler weather and trend-right apparel that includes boots, leggings and skinny jeans.
"She's back in the mall but not buying probably as much," said Walters. "We have seen a resurgence in shopping over the past two months. Back-to-school got moms back in the mall, and through September and October women came back to the mall for fal
Industry experts told Reuters they characterize the trend as an uptick rather than a rebound, particularly since year-ago sales were drastically low.
"You have a consumer who spent 12 months paying down credit-card debt, increasing her saving rate and forgoing consumption. Everybody backed off," said Stifel Nicolaus analyst Richard Jaffe.
"Here we are 12 months later ... the bottom is in sight regarding our economy and Christmas is coming -- obviously a big motivator for selling," he said.
According to a recent survey from the National Retail Federation, 62% of women plan to buy clothing or clothing accessories this holiday season, bettering the 60.7% last year but still below the 62.4% seen in 2007, and the more robust 67.2% in 2006.
Despite the hints of a comeback in women's apparel sales, the big unknown is what happens in January, as investors warn that the demand outlook for 2010 is a big unknown. If stores fail to offer compelling spring merchandise in the winter months after the holidays, women could easily return to their "non-shopping mode," Walters said.
Walters expects the January-to-March period to be "pretty tough."