We are hearing reports of surging sales in March thanks in part to stimulus checks and the sense of optimism in the air.
There are also several indications that apparel and footwear sales have turned on, especially in categories that have been dormant during the pandemic such as dresses and dressier shoes such as sandals and wedges.
Here are a few indications that apparel beyond activewear and sweats may be making a comeback and that the stimulus is having an impact:
- Ron Jon Surf Shop had the best four weeks in the company’s history in March, according to GMM Gary Rubin. In addition, business bounced back at tourist heavy stores in Cocoa Beach and Disney Springs, which had been softer during the pandemic.
- Industry customer The Buckle reported this morning that March sales increased 69.5% over 2019 numbers. (A lot of businesses are using 2019 numbers because 2020 are so skewed from closures, etc.)
- At Glik’s in the Midwest, also an industry customer, March sales came in 60.4% over plan. The plan was built largely on 2019 numbers. “Margins were also at an all-time high – there is no reason to put anything on sale when people are buying at full price,” said CEO Jeff Glik.
- Jeff said Glik’s saw an immediate, large boost in sales when the most recent stimulus money began going out. He is especially intrigued by the surge in dress sales. “We couldn’t give dresses away during the pandemic,” he said. “Dresses went through the roof in the month of March. I think everyone is so tired of lounge pants.” The dress category beat plan by 56% in March.
- In an indication that people are getting ready to go out in the world again, TOMS CEO Magnus Wedhammar told us in an interview that sales of sandals and wedges are suddenly on a big upswing on TOMS.com.
- Executives at the parent company of Tommy Bahama said during a recent earnings conference call that demand is growing in product categories that have been soft during the pandemic, including woven dresses that are worn to cocktail parties, etc. Men’s woven shirts have also picked up. In addition, some of the Tommy Bahama’s wholesale accounts are beginning to see a meaningful uptick in business. The brand does business with department stores, which have been some of the hardest hit retailers during the pandemic.