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Vexing Issues: Size and Fit

BY CSA STAFF

More than half of female shoppers are finding it increasingly difficult to find clothes that fit and flatter them. And, making matters even more frustrating, inconsistent sizing across brands and retailers is forcing a large number of women to shop multiple departments or size ranges.

Those are among the insights in Retail Forward’s most recent Soft-goods Shopper Update, whose survey data suggests that nearly one-fifth of women own clothes that they cannot wear because they never had them altered. Other highlights include:

Shoppers are less likely to be aware of positive changes to apparel merchandise mix. While consolidation among traditional department stores and the rollout of several new private brands at key retailers brought about changes in the merchandise mix in 2006, shoppers’ perception of positive changes in fit, style, quality and value are lower today than in prior years, according to Retail Forward.

“With respect to fit issues, only Kohl’s and Target were cited by a larger share of shoppers than in prior years as having made noticeable changes,” said Kelly Tackett, senior consultant and apparel analyst with Retail Forward; and

Shoppers are less likely to alter apparel budgets. More than 40% of female primary household shoppers surveyed say they are not spending more of their household clothing budget at any particular retailer. Younger shoppers and more affluent ones tend to be more willing to reallocate their clothing budgets among retailers.

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Finish Line 4Q Profit Narrows

BY CSA STAFF

Indianapolis, Finish Line said Thursday the company earned $21.1 million in its fourth quarter, compared with profit of $28.1 million during the same period a year prior. Revenue rose to $429 million from $399.2 million.

Expenses for the quarter rose to $93.9 million from $85.1 million. The company also saw an asset impairment charge of $7.5 million compared with $2.5 million a year ago. Comp-store sales fell 5.4% during the quarter.

For the full year, the company earned $32.4 million.

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Sharper Image, OfficeMax Partner

BY CSA STAFF

San Francisco, Sharper Image has announced a multi-year licensing agreement with OfficeMax. The agreement with OfficeMax is the first to be announced by Sharper Image’s newly created brand licensing division.

Under the agreement, OfficeMax will offer Sharper Image branded office furniture and accessories made exclusively for OfficeMax under the Sharper Image Office brand. Products will include desks, chairs, shredders, desk sets, accessories and related items. The first product collection is currently rolling out into OfficeMax stores, with additional collections to debut throughout and beyond 2007.

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