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Clothing Retailing - Ireland - January 2009

With rising food and utility bills, the percentage of income spent on clothing has been in decline over the last number of years. Increased competition for consumer expenditure from other markets (such as the leisure industry and electronics) has meant that the market for clothing has not increased proportionately with disposable income. As disposable income becomes scarcer with the effects of recession becoming more pronounced, the market for clothing retailing remains difficult going into 2009.

Key themes of the report:

  • Recession in RoI and the financial downturn in NI have created a difficult market with mid-range retailers suffering the effects most markedly.

  • Clothing sales in NI will receive a significant boost as RoI shoppers take advantage of the weak Sterling.

  • Celebrity-inspired style has provided an impetus for the ‘fast fashion’ trend.

  • While many retailers are feeling the pinch, some are turning recession to their advantage through planned expansion such as Primark and Topshop/Topman.

  • Irish consumers are cost cutting; is ethical still on the agenda in 2009?

  • In line with their non-food growth strategies, supermarkets are increasingly encroaching into the clothing retail market.

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Table of contents

  1. Issues in the Market

      • Key themes of the report
        • Definition
          • Abbreviations
          • Insights and Opportunities

            • Meeting the demands of the grey market
              • ‘Fattist fashion’ needs to be addressed
                • Celebrity-endorsed in-store makeovers
                • Market in Brief

                  • IoI clothing retail market contracted by 3% in 2008 to €3.9 billion
                    • NI market continues to expand
                      • Womenswear continues to outperform menswear
                        • Value retailers reaping the benefits as consumers trade down
                          • Weak Sterling boosts NI sales…
                            • …but hides underlying threat
                              • Is ethical still on the agenda?
                                • Department stores remain favourite channel to market
                                  • Catalogue vs. computer
                                    • Growing demand for both larger and smaller sizes
                                      • Retailers’ growth despite difficult market conditions
                                      • Fast Forward Trends

                                          • Trend 1: Shopping Comes Alive
                                            • What's it about?
                                              • What we've seen
                                                • Implications
                                                  • What next?
                                                    • Trend 2: User Generated Content
                                                      • What's it about?
                                                        • What we've seen
                                                          • Specifics
                                                            • What next?
                                                            • Internal Market Environment

                                                              • Key points
                                                                • Fashion exposure
                                                                  • Green is the new black
                                                                    • Affordable values?
                                                                      • Can disposable fashion continue?
                                                                        • Room for fair trade clothing during downturn?
                                                                          • Figure 1: Agreement with the statement ‘I buy fair trade products when available’, NI and RoI, 2003-08
                                                                        • How will financial difficulties affect the clothing retail market?
                                                                          • Figure 2: Consumer responses to statement ‘When feeling the pinch, which of these are you most likely to do when trying to cut back your personal spending?’, NI and RoI*, January 2008
                                                                        • Retail parks versus high street shopping
                                                                          • Figure 3: Retail rents per sq ft, 2008
                                                                        • Retailers’ response to the growth of out-of-town shopping
                                                                          • Size zero gives new meaning to term ‘fashion victim’
                                                                            • Demand-led retailing
                                                                              • Demand for larger sizes has also increased
                                                                                • Figure 4: Changing female body shapes, UK
                                                                              • Speciality store market for ‘size zero’?
                                                                                • Plus-size specialists holding their own
                                                                                  • Getting the celebrity look
                                                                                    • Celebrity cheap?
                                                                                    • Broader Market Environment

                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                        • Recession strikes RoI pockets
                                                                                          • Figure 5: RoI economic outlook, 2006-09
                                                                                        • How will NI fare?
                                                                                          • Figure 6: NI economic outlook, 2007-09
                                                                                        • Unemployment levels higher than anticipated
                                                                                          • Tightening the designer belt
                                                                                            • Retail therapy
                                                                                              • The impact of the strong euro
                                                                                                • Figure 7: Sterling rate against the euro, 2007-08
                                                                                              • Border hopping shopping
                                                                                                • Cross-border trade to NI booming…
                                                                                                  • …while RoI traders report doom and gloom
                                                                                                    • A wolf in sheep’s clothing
                                                                                                      • Retailers to target young people in the short term
                                                                                                        • Washout summer sees poor sales
                                                                                                        • Strengths and Weaknesses

                                                                                                          • Strengths
                                                                                                            • Weaknesses
                                                                                                            • Competitive Context

                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                • What are consumers spending their income on?
                                                                                                                  • Figure 8: Average UK weekly household expenditure (%) 2001/02-2006/07
                                                                                                                  • Figure 9: Average weekly household expenditure, RoI, 1999-2000 and 2004-05
                                                                                                                • Recession – How do consumers cut back?
                                                                                                                  • Figure 10: Top consumer responses to statement ‘When feeling the pinch, which of these are you most likely to do when trying to cut back your personal spending?’, by age, RoI, January 2008
                                                                                                                  • Figure 11: Top consumer responses to statement ‘When feeling the pinch, which of these are you most likely to do when trying to cut back your personal spending?’, by age, NI, January 2008
                                                                                                                • Leisure activities
                                                                                                                  • Figure 12: Participation in leisure activities, NI and RoI, June 2007
                                                                                                              • Who’s Innovating?

                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                  • DIY design
                                                                                                                    • Retail meets entertainment in Space 15 Twenty
                                                                                                                      • Carbon-neutral clothing
                                                                                                                      • Market Value and Forecast

                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                          • Figure 13: Market value and forecast, IoI, RoI and NI, 2003-13
                                                                                                                        • Cross-border trade helps NI sales grow
                                                                                                                            • Figure 14: Indexed growth in retail clothing market, IoI, RoI and NI, 2003-13
                                                                                                                          • Footfall levels recovering after some decline
                                                                                                                          • Market Segmentation

                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                              • Womenswear continues to dominate
                                                                                                                                • Figure 15: Estimated retail sales of womenswear, IoI, RoI and NI, 2003-13
                                                                                                                              • Cheap chic – consumers flock to value retailers
                                                                                                                                • Thrifty shoppers choosing charity clothing
                                                                                                                                  • Menswear welcomes new entrants to the market
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 16: Estimated retail sales of menswear, IoI, RoI and NI, 2003-13
                                                                                                                                  • Mid-range retailers worst hit
                                                                                                                                  • Companies and Brands

                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                      • Arcadia Group
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 17: Arcadia Group financial performance, 2003-07
                                                                                                                                      • Burton
                                                                                                                                        • Dorothy Perkins
                                                                                                                                          • Evans
                                                                                                                                            • Miss Selfridge
                                                                                                                                              • Topshop/Topman
                                                                                                                                                • Wallis
                                                                                                                                                  • ASOS
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 18: Financial information, Asos, 2003/04-2007/08
                                                                                                                                                  • Arnotts
                                                                                                                                                    • Asda
                                                                                                                                                      • Benetton Group
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 19: Benetton Group financial performance, 2003-07
                                                                                                                                                      • Bhs
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 20: Bhs Group financial performance, 2003-07
                                                                                                                                                        • Brown Thomas
                                                                                                                                                          • Clerys
                                                                                                                                                            • Debenhams
                                                                                                                                                              • Dunnes Stores
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 21: Dunnes financial performance, 2001-07
                                                                                                                                                                • Gap
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 22: Gap financial performance, 2004-08
                                                                                                                                                                • H&M
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 23: H&M Hennes & Mauritz financial performance, 2003-07
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 24: H&M Hennes & Mauritz sales, by UK and Ireland, 2003-07
                                                                                                                                                                  • Heatons
                                                                                                                                                                    • Marks & Spencer
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 25: M&S: International sales performance, 2006-08
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 26: Marks & Spencer 2008 half-year results
                                                                                                                                                                    • Matalan
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 27: Matalan financial and outlet information, 2002/03-2007/08
                                                                                                                                                                      • Next
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 28: Next Group financial information, 2004-08
                                                                                                                                                                      • Primark/Penneys
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 29: Primark/Penneys financial performance, 2003-08
                                                                                                                                                                      • Tesco
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 30: Tesco UK financial information, 2003/04-2007/08
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 31: Tesco Ireland financial information, 2003/04-2007/08
                                                                                                                                                                    • The Shopping Channel

                                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                        • Swapping catalogue for computer – the rise of e-tail
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 32: Online sales of clothing and footwear, (inc. VAT), UK 2003-08
                                                                                                                                                                          • Limitations to online growth
                                                                                                                                                                            • Irish are catching up
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 33: Broadband connection, NI and RoI, 2004 and 2007
                                                                                                                                                                            • Online clothing shopping popular with NI consumers
                                                                                                                                                                              • Reserve online, try in-store
                                                                                                                                                                                • Popularity of department stores remains
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Shopped orlooked around a department store in last three months, by gender, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                • Just browsing, thanks
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Frequency of looking around in department store, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                • Still a place for mail order among over-55s
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 36: Ordered from a mail order catalogue in the last 12 months, NI and RoI, 2003-08
                                                                                                                                                                                • Tailoring retail to meet the demands of an ageing population
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 37: Population estimate and projection, by age, NI, 2000 and 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 38: Population estimate and projection, by age, RoI, 2000 and 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 39: Agreement with the statement ‘It is important to be attractive to the opposite sex’, by age, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                • In search of the Holy Grail
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 40: Agreement with the statement ‘I dress in a young style’, by gender, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                              • The Style versus Budget Debate

                                                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Looking good: Irish consumers are image-conscious
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 41: Agreement with personal appearance statements, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                  • The Lynx effect
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 42: Agreement with the statement ‘It is important to be attractive to the opposite sex’, by gender, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Over half of Irish consumers feel it is important to dress well
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 43: Agreement with personal appearance statement ‘I like to keep up with the latest fashions’, by gender, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                  • 'Tis the season
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 44: Agreement with the statement ‘Every season I buy some new clothes’, by gender, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Quality not an issue for some
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 45: Agreement with the statement ‘When purchasing clothes I care more about style and attractiveness than quality’, by gender, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                  • It’s all about the money
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 46: Agreement with statement ‘I look for the lowest possible prices when I go shopping’, NI and RoI, 2003-08
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Fashionable crime
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 47: Agreement with the statement ‘I buy my clothes only in high-class boutiques’, by socio-economic group, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                • Consumer Target Groups

                                                                                                                                                                                    • NI consumer typologies
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 48: NI target groups according to attitudes towards clothing and fashion, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Aspirationals 25% (Asp)
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Demographic pattern
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Understanding Aspirationals
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Practical Dressers 26% (PD)
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Demographic pattern
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Understanding Practical Dressers
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Cutting Edge 20% (CE)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Demographic pattern
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Understanding Cutting Edge consumers
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Well Presented 29% (WP)
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Demographic pattern
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Understanding Well Presented
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • RoI typologies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 49: RoI groups according to attitudes towards clothing and fashion, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Bargain Chic 25% (BC)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Demographic pattern
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Understanding Bargain Chic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Unfashionable 24% (UF)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Demographic pattern
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Understanding Unfashionable consumers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Independent Stylists 29% (IS)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Demographic pattern
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Understanding Independent Stylists
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Image Focused 21% (IF)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Demographic pattern
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Understanding Image Focused
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Consumer typologies – demographics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Statements used to create consumer typologies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 50: NI consumer typologies, by demographics, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 51: NI consumer typologies, characteristics and demographic pattern, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 52: RoI consumer typologies, by demographics, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 53: RoI consumer typologies, characteristics and demographic patterns, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 54: M&S UK retail sales, by product category, 2006-08
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 55: M&S financial information, 2003-08

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Clothing Retailing - Ireland - January 2009

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