Are Shoppers Saying ‘Bah Humbug' to Clothes This Holiday Season?

The season’s top holiday trends don’t feature much clothing, and recent sales reports indicate the dip in consumption is reportedly affecting some major apparel retailers

More shoppers may be saying “bah humbug” to clothes this holiday season.

According to a report by Crain’s Chicago Business, the season’s top holiday trends don’t feature much clothing, and recent sales reports indicate the dip in consumption is affecting some major apparel retailers.

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Data from IBM Watson Trend, which reports an instant analysis of what consumers are buying, shows the current items on most wishlists are an Apple Watch, Samsung TVs, Sony TVs, Lego Friends and Lego Star Wars. In fact, the only clothing item to make it into the season’s current trending items list was running shoes.

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The National Retail Federation noted Tuesday that millions of shoppers still have a lengthy list to finalize.

“While we witnessed an early start to the holiday shopping season and an extraordinary Thanksgiving weekend, some of the busiest shopping days of the year are still to come,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “We expect retailers will be competitive on price and value options in the final stretch, including extended store hours and in-store events, as well as online deals and free shipping offers. Even an unseasonably warm winter cannot keep last-minute shoppers from putting off their holiday purchases anymore.”

According to their final consumer holiday spending survey, however, 50.8 percent of shoppers say they have already purchased clothing and acccessories gifts. That's compared to only 34.5 percent who have bought toys and 22.8 percent who bought electronic items. 

Recent retail data showed sales at clothing and accessories stores have increased 0.8 percent since October, but decreased 1.6 percent when compared to last year. 

Crain’s reported that a dip in sales has forced various reactions from larger retail companies.

For example, Macy’s announced last month that it has “begun a process to explore joint ventures or other deal structures with third parties to redevelop” flagship spaces in Chicago, Manhattan, San Francisco and Minneapolis. The decision came after the company said “the pace of sales” did not improve in the third quarter.

“Spending by domestic customers remained tepid, especially in key apparel and accessory categories,” Macy’s said in a release.

In November, major retailer Nordstrom Inc. revealed the company’s third quarter performance was below company expectations, citing “softer sales trends that were generally consistent across channels and merchandise categories.”

Earlier this year, Gap Inc. revealed plans to close 175 stores and eliminate 250 jobs at its headquarters.

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