Clothing sales expected to skyrocket as consumers swap sweaters for jeans – Business News – fr

Clothing sales expected to skyrocket as consumers swap sweaters for jeans – Business News – fr

This is the defining attire for the pandemic: stretchy pants, loose sweaters and slippers.

Still, as vaccination campaigns gain momentum and lockdowns disappear, the return to in-person gatherings should boost demand for wardrobe refreshment, experts say.

More than half of Canadian consumers plan to buy new clothes once pandemic restrictions are relaxed, according to a new report from market research firm The NPD Group.

Among consumers between the ages of 18 and 34, that number climbs to two-thirds planning to buy new clothes, according to the report.

“There is a growing consumer demand for novelty,” Tamara Szames, Canadian retail advisor to the NPD Group, said in an interview.

“People are ready to start socializing again and even if it’s just a backyard barbecue with friends and family, they’ll want to look good and maybe wear new clothes.

The desire to dress up for social gatherings is expected to be a boon to the hard-hit Canadian apparel industry.

Clothing store sales fell during the pandemic, falling 86.7% in April 2020 and remaining below pre-pandemic levels since.

The staples of shopping malls like fashion retailer Le Chateau Inc., Reitmans (Canada) Ltd. and Groupe Dynamite are among the clothing stores that have requested creditor protection.

Aritzia temporarily closed all of its stores at the start of the pandemic, causing sales and revenues to fall.

But the Vancouver-based clothing retailer has managed to recoup most of its revenue from online sales and is counting on a post-COVID recovery.

“While the uncertainty of the pandemic remains with the ongoing closures of half of our Canadian stores and economic conditions varying dramatically, we are well positioned,” said Brian Hill, Founder, CEO and President, at a recent conference call to discuss the retailer’s results.

“Whether the pandemic continues or we come out of it sooner than expected, we’re going to be ready for it in Aritzia.”

The women’s fashion brand is seeing sales grow in the United States and hopes to see the same trend in Canada as the vaccine rollout accelerates.

“We’re seeing a lot more of our dresses and outlet clothes in the United States already,” Hill said. “Our e-commerce business continues to grow, and with our business in the United States booming, we are optimistic that, as vaccine deployment accelerates, we will see a similar recovery in Canada in due course.

The faster recovery south of the border gives retailers in Canada a glimpse of what to expect as stay-at-home measures improve here.

The return of social events and travel has boosted clothing sales, with categories like swimwear experiencing the fastest recovery, Szames said with the NPD Group.

Even in Canada, when lockdowns eased briefly in March, clothing sales picked up, she said.

Women’s jeans, for example, are up 1% from March 2019, Szames said.

“It’s an indication that once the locks are lifted we can get back to these normal levels,” she said.

While the return of zippers, buttons and belts may seem shocking after more than a year of yoga pants and joggers, Szames said the post-COVID clothing trend will be a hybrid of comfort and fashion.

“Overall comfort is always the determining factor,” she said. “But for 18 to 34 year olds, fashion was just as important as comfort.”

In the jeans category, for example, expect softer denims and wider, fuller legs, as opposed to skinny jeans, she said.

“We’re not going to suddenly see a switch to extreme fashion,” Szames said. “It’s going to be based on comfort.”

As the economy reopens, older generations are likely to be the first to return to stores, while shoppers under 40 will continue to shop primarily online, she said.

“It will continue to be e-commerce first with the physical store experience complementing online,” Szames said.

Her advice for boosting in-store sales is to make returns easier, ensure prompt payment, and make store cleanliness a top priority.

“Just because the economy is starting to reopen doesn’t mean there won’t still be fear among consumers,” she said.


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