Trouble in the junior market: Blame it on Apple?

You may have read a recent New York Times article describing how young shoppers’ discretionary dollars are migrating from apparel to the latest tech devices. And you may have also read that Abercrombie & Fitch is abandoning its reliance on logo merchandise. (Aeropostale and American Eagle can be expected to follow suit.) I discuss the confluence of these two trends on a recent RetailWire post:

Smartphones are ubiquitous (especially the Apple and Samsung variety) and offer very little in terms of “individual style” beyond the cellphone cover and homepage photos. But they do, absolutely, drain younger consumers’ discretionary budgets.

Blaming tech spending for the woes of the “Three A’s” (Abercrombie, Aeropostale, American Eagle) is too simple, however. The real culprit is the merchandise content at these stores, and the long lead-time product development model that they are finally abandoning. “Fast Fashion” competitors (in particular Forever 21) have given consumers much more value and variety than the mainstay junior retailers. (And let’s not forget the growth of off-pricers over the last few years.) These “treasure hunt” retailers may feel overassorted, but the consumer looking for individual style obviously prefers this kind of shopping.


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