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Industry Analysis: Online Contemporary Apparel

BY CSA STAFF

Loft and Express are the strongest online players in contemporary apparel, with less promotional activity and strong assortments, according to a report analyzing key contemporary players and year-over-year changes by fashion trendsetting and analysis firm WGSN. On the other hand, Anthropologie and J. Crew lack a cohesive merchandising and pricing strategy.

The report is based on data is sourced from the WGSN INStock analytics platform, which monitors the e-commerce catalogues of 12,000 brands and retailers, 400 product categories and 40 million SKUs.

In other findings from the report:

• Promotional Activity: While we expect to find unseasonable items on promotion during this time period, high numbers of in-season goods on promotion might indicate problems. Given their strong performance in other KPIs, and clear improvement over last year’s markdown strategy, the percentage of shorts (74%) and tops (67%) on promotion at Express begs the question: Why are they marking down seasonal goods so heavily in season?

• Predominant Price Point: Anthropologie and Club Monaco mark the high-end of the range in this market, with Gap, Loft, and Express holding down the lower-end. J. Crew has failed to stake out a mark at either end, changing their price point from category to category.

• Assortment: Most retailers are leading with tops as a key category in their overall assortment but only Gap (24%) & Loft (16.25%) have increased this category over last year.

Loft also leads with a nice assortment of trousers (15.44%), jeans (13%) and dresses (11%) – to round out a strong offering. Banana Republic increased their assortment of knitwear (11%), while simultaneously increasing the % of items on promotion to 48% from 23% last year.

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Target to pay $2.8 million in hiring discrimination charges

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Target Corp. has agreed to pay $2.8 million to resolve a hiring discrimination claim filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The EEOC said three "employment assessments," which Target no longer uses, disproportionately screened out applicants based on race and gender, according to the Associated Press, and therefore violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The EEOC also said a psychological assessment used by Target violated the Americans with Disabilities Act because job applicants aren't supposed to be subjected to medical exams.

Target denied the allegations and said it no longer uses those assessments or works with the vendor cited as violating ADA rules.

The EEOC also found that Target had failed to maintain required records to properly assess the impact of its hiring procedures.

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Teens eschewing logos, looking for deals

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — As if retailers didn’t have enough to worry about, teens are shopping more like their parents.

Click here for the story.

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