Lingerie sales continue to heat up the register – 3/4/08
One of the strongest retail categories today is all but unmentionable. Women are plunking down big dollars for something most other people may never see: their underwear. ‘It’s definitely been one of the more popular categories,’ said Kelly Tackett, a senior analyst with TNS Retail Forward, a Columbus, Ohio-based retail consulting firm.
“The category has been dominated so long by Victoria’s Secret, and there really haven’t been a lot of competitors with an appealing offer, so a lot of these retailers have decided to stop giving Victoria’s Secret the whole category,” Tackett said.
Among retailers hoping to cash in on ladies’ undies are American Eagle Outfitters, which has expanded its intimates label, aerie, into freestanding stores. The company opened its first aerie boutique in Greenville in 2006. Kohl’s department stores also has unveiled a new lingerie label, Moments, and JCPenney introduced its Umbrielle line last spring.
Discussion questions: Can department and specialty stores continue to grow this category during an overall slowdown in apparel sales? Will Victoria’s Secret lose share to other retailers?
The lingerie category is poised for continued and sustained growth. Like lipstick, lingerie is a relatively inexpensive purchase for a product that makes a woman feel beautiful. Even in a tough economy, these purchases will still be made. As for Victoria’ Secret, recent articles have discussed their CEO’s statements that the company has become too young, overly sexual and that they must return to their roots of glamour and sensuality for the 25-45 woman. I think they will do so, but in the meantime it leaves an opening for aerie, Penney, Kohl’s, and others to capture some share. Choice is always a wonderful thing so I am excited to see the category get ‘exposure’ and provide women with many compelling options.
Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! TM strategist
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