Fashion trends appear unexpectedly and fade away even quicker than they appeared. Sustaining their slice of the pie and attracting new customers is a key issue facing the retailers. Especially in case of apparel retailing, where garments have a short life cycle, fads move even more rapidly. The retailer would lose his profits if he missed to keep abreast of the springing trends, and simultaneously would lose money if he invests in the wrong trend. This is one big challenging aspect facing the fashion industry.
Luxury, Near Luxury, & Standard Apparels:
The major concern for apparel retailers is brand positioning. Luxury apparel stores like Banana Republic target high income customers who do not mind to pay a hefty price for their merchandise. They seek attires with premium quality with a premium price. The second category of retailers are those who deal with near luxury garments; clothes which are little lavish, but within the budget of middle and upper middle class consumers. They target customers who crave for wearing stylish clothes matching the latest trends, those cannot afford to pay premium prices for their outfits, but can settle for these near luxury brands. Brands such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Fitch & Abercrombie fall under this category. Gap captures consumers with apparels at mid-range price. Last are the standard apparel retailers, those who aim at the middle and lower level customers with average incomes, who generally seek to buy apparels during clearance sales. Brands such as Old Navy targets low end price products of the apparel industry.
Brand positioning during tough times:
Brand positioning of apparels is very crucial especially during the times of economic turmoil. During these times, only the creamy people go in for their shopping spree without any restrictions of their budget. Luxury apparel retailers do not face much problem during these times as their wealth-laden customers generally do not have any issues regarding their spending patterns. After being bludgeoned by recession, middle and lower income people curtail their shopping patterns and cut back from spending on non-necessity items. Clothing comes under this kind. Sales in the near luxury and standard apparel stores will have a deep impact during these times.
Profit margins of apparel retailers too have variations due to the discounting strategies and variation in price levels. Profit margins for high end apparel companies range around 67% and 20% for standard apparel companies. Low priced apparel retailers keep low profit margins and still go for a discount when they do their clearance sales.
Fashion industry is going through a price overhaul with companies like H&M, and Forever 21 coming up with apparels with fair quality and low price. Todays consumers are picky and close minded regarding their shopping preferences, especially when it comes to apparels. The market trends keep changing to go with the consumers taste.
Customers will look for value as well as the price tag. From the perspective of attitude, shoppers will have a different thinking. In order to compete in todays market; the successful strategy for apparel retailers is to offer a wide range of clothing at as many price ranges as possible.