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Business Consuming Interests

Consumer fatigue blamed for decline in jeans sales

Are consumers getting tired of jeans?

One retail analyst thinks so.

Changing the color and fit used to be enough to prompt shoppers to go out and buy something new, but "the lack of any real innovation in jeans has created consumer fatigue," Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for The NPD Group, says in a blog post today.

Sales of jeans, which performed well through the recession, fell 5 percent for the year ending in March, Cohen says, with declines of 4 percent for men's jeans, 5 percent for women's and 10 percent for kids.

Several factors are at play, he says. People who wear jeans for work or on an every day basis, who account for the category's core business, are looking for slightly dressier bottoms.

And growing sales of athletic apparel, such as the leggings, fleece bottoms and sweatpants sold by Nike, Under Armour and Reebok, are nibbling at denim sales and "denim is not doing enough to combat it," Cohen says.

It's easy enough to spot the trends in the youth market -- my own boys won't wear jeans and neither will many of their classmates.

But Cohen also blames lack of innovation from the denim industry.

"When you have such a wide penetration of brands and retailers selling such a big category, it is critical to bring forth innovation, and not just minor tweaks to the same styles," he said, declaring, "This formula no longer works."

Hmm. Is there a big innovation in denim on the way and what will that be?

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

 

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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