Shoppers have shaken off their recession-era caution: They’re ponying up for big-ticket appliances, taking a record number of summer airline trips and splurging on novelty items such as drones. Strong consumer spending is a bright spot in a recovering U.S. economy.The struggles of retail.
But you wouldn’t know any of this based on the performance of some of the biggest names in women’s clothing.
Anthropologie has posted four straight quarters of flat or declining “comparable sales,” a measure of results on its website and in its stores open more than a year. J. Crew’s comparable sales fell 10 percent last year and sank 8 percent in the first quarter of 2016. Banana Republic has seen a decline in comparable sales for the past 13 months, including a staggering 14 percent plunge in July. Gap’s sales are weak, and Ann Taylor’s have taken a gloomy turn recently, too.
This slate of mega-retailers has long been among the prime draws to the mall for middle-class women, offering apparel that they could easily mix and match into outfits for client meetings, kiddie birthday parties or date nights. But lately, they can’t seem to design clothes that women want to buy. In other words, people think their clothes are ugly.
Sunday, August 28, 2016
The Washington Post reports:
Posted by Steve Bartin at 5:15 AM