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Getting Back to Business Casual

Although many white-collar workplaces are reopening on “hybrid” schedules of in-office work only a few days a week, American shoppers still need to dress the part and change out of the yoga pants and sweatshirts that characterized the pandemic zoom wardrobe.  This shift back to business attire may be part of the reason, along with macro factors, that higher-end companies have been outperforming discounters recently, with more than supply chain issues to blame for discounter overstocks of sportswear.  In today’s Insight Flash, we dig into the shifts in Men’s and Women’s Apparel/Accessories over the last few months, focusing on spend growth, changes in average ticket, and the fastest-growing brands.

Over the past 91 days, both Men’s and Women’s Apparel/Accessories have seen spend growth on a 1-year, 2-year, and 3-year basis.  Versus three years ago, the overall industry has grown 33%.  Men’s Apparel has outperformed the overall industry at 68% 3-year growth, but Women’s Apparel is showing strength as well with 21% growth.

Industry and Subindustry Spend Growth

Note:  91 days ending 5/31/22

Rising spend per transaction may also be an indicator of more business-appropriate apparel coming back into fashion.  For the first two months of the calendar quarter, the average ticket for Men’s Apparel is up 3.7% versus Q1 and 9.2% versus last year’s full Q2.  Women’s apparel is showing even larger ticket growth – up 5.7% versus Q1 and 15.2% versus last year.

Average Ticket

Note:  Calendar quarters; Q2 through 5/31/2022

A deeper look into the brands that have shown the biggest acceleration in growth over the past 91 days highlights the importance of back-to-work when it comes to apparel growth.  Business casual mainstays like Draper’s and Damon’s, Ann Taylor LOFT/Ann Taylor, and Draper James are among the top brands seeing growth recently.

Top Spend Growth Acceleration

Note:  Acceleration in growth from 91 days ended 6/1/22 vs year ago period from growth 91 days ended 3/2/22 vs year ago period; brands with under 1,200 transactions excluded