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Specialty Apparel Hurt By Lousy Weather, But Weekly Sales Tick Up

Women’s Wear Daily

By: Arthur Zaczkiewicz

Bad weather eroded apparel sales by $198 million in August and $195 million in September.

An analysis by Planalytics released today showed that specialty apparel retailers struggled in August and September as negative weather patterns in the U.S. hurt sales. But for the week ended Saturday, October 1, overall retail sales jumped 3.6 percent from the prior week, according to the Retail Economist-Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales Index.

On a year-over-year basis, the index gained 2.9 percent. Michael P. Niemira, chief economist of The Retail Economist, LLC, said the “end of the September fiscal month saw consumers returning to stores after sluggish sales performance in the prior three weeks. That late September sales pickup – which was broad based – also may signal a better retail environment for October.”

Improved weather conditions this month are expected to help boost apparel sales, noted the analysts at Planalytics. That’s good news for specialty apparel retailers, who are licking their wounds after the weather eroded sales by an estimated $198 million in August and $195 million in September.

“The slow start for fall clothing sales is even more pronounced when you consider that these numbers do not include apparel sold through department stores, discounters, sporting goods retailers or online,” the researchers said in their report. “The largest negative comps were in the eastern half of the country, and particularly in the Midwest in August and South in September. In both August and September, the opportunity was focused in the Southwest where cooler conditions drove demand for apparel.”

Planalytics said it expects “more favorable comps versus last year in the East as we enter the highly anticipated holiday shopping season, with positive weather-driven demand for many cold weather categories.”

For next week, retailers are gearing up promotions on select products to drive traffic for Columbus Day. According to WalletHub, some notable deals QVC is lining up include a Denim & Co. Lamb Leather Motorcycle Jacket for $109.96 (47 percent off) and a Isaac Mizrahi LIve! Bridgehampton Color-Block Leather Satchel for $106.97 (50 percent off). At Macy’s, Columbus Day deals include Calvin Klein outerwear for 40 percent off ($108 to $140) and a Charter Club Cashmere Pullover for $104.25 (25 percent off).

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