Junior apparel: One weak spot in the retail recovery

From a recent RetailWire comment about junior apparel: There are macroeconomic issues that are slowing down this segment of the industry, although there are exceptions to the rule. Here’s my point of view:

Let’s see what the May comp sales numbers actually look like before drawing too many conclusions about the state of the junior apparel market. But there is no doubt that the economic slowdown has had a “trickle-down” effect on this segment of the business. First, the “new normal” dictates that consumers live more strictly with a household budget; this is likely to put a damper on parents’ willingness to spend on “nice to have” instead of “must-have” clothes for their teenagers. Second, and more important, high unemployment is hitting teens especially hard, in terms of “first jobs” and summer jobs too. Until employment rates improve, the real and perceived impact on teens’ spending is going to continue.


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