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consumer preferences among clothing and dress across the United States

Posted Mar 07 2013 2:22am
Apparel FEATURE
Add-ons are leading apparel sales for men and women, with casual belts and hats driving the business, and the little wallet-on-a-string is a big winner. 

Fashion depends on the right details and discount store customers are starting their search for them in accessories departments. Buyers report these areas are flourishing and showing the way to other apparel sections. 

"I'm realizing double-digit increases over last year," a Midwestern buyer for ladies' accessories told DM. His counterpart in the men's department described increases of "two or three percentage points above the rest of menswear." All the buyers interviewed had outstanding results from belts and hats, and many other items, from boxer shorts to scarves, showed strength. 

WOMEN--WAISTWARD HO 
"The strength has been in belts," the women's accessory buyer said. "Leather is strong and anything glitzy is great." 

Steve Russo of Accessory Network, licensee, described Sasson's new line of women's braided belts as "country classic style, all-leather, in fall-type colors like hunter, burgundy, and multi-color. They have rugged buckle treatments and are upscale in look. Tests at various retailers have been excellent," he said. 

The Midwesterner's other great category is hats. "The hat business has been off the wall. It's incredible--it's probably due to straws more than anything else, with fabric hats in the slouch silhouette second. The average price has been $9.99 to $14.99 retail. Baseball caps were stronger last year, but they're OK. Hats are probably going to be the strongest category this fall going forward--I think the strength will definitely continue. Wools, felts, and the fabric slouch silhouettes will be good and heavy embellishments of all kinds are going to be important." 

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