Americans not scrimping on clothes this fall: study

Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:29pm EDT
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By Nivedita Bhattacharjee

BANGALORE (Reuters) - Shoppers may not be feeling too good about the economy, but that is not stopping them from adding clothes and shoes to their wardrobes, a recent study shows.

A report by IBM, to be released later on Wednesday, says demand for apparel and accessories will stay strong this fall, as parents spend on their kids, and then on themselves.

"They are buying more clothes than they are other kinds of goods and services," said Michael Haydock, retail analytics leader at IBM Global Business Services.

"Before the recession people shopped aggressively in all categories. This year, people are not shopping in all categories -- in consumer electronics, automobiles, appliances, they are actually staggering their purchases, but (they are) buying more clothes," he told Reuters.

Haydock expects sales of clothes and shoes to rise 6.3 percent in August, to $19.49 billion. In September, he expects them to rise 6.6 percent.

For the three fall months of August through October, children's apparel is expected to see an 11.1 percent rise followed by men's at 5.5 percent and women's at 3.1 percent.

"Adults are holding back on purchasing for themselves during their back-to-school shopping for the kids. But once the kids are in school, mom and dad will go out and spend in September and October," Haydock said.

IBM's report does not break out results from different stores types. Instead, it shows a general trend across specialty retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch, department stores like J.C. Penney Co Inc and discounters like Target Corp.   Continued...

<p>A man tries on a shirt while shopping at a clothing store in New York, December 14, 2010. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>