Underwear Retailing - UK - April 2009
The underwear market is not insulated from the Credit Crunch and UK recession: after a relatively good 2008, which saw the sector grow by 2.3% on 2007 and reach a value of £3.4 billion, Mintel estimates that it will decline by 1.2% in 2009. Menswear will be hit harder than womenswear.
Volume growth has outstripped value growth as price has been a key competitive stance, leading to the success of value retailers/supermarkets (especially Primark) and the rise in popularity of multi-packs. However, specialists with differentiation – such as La Senza and Figleaves – have also grown strongly.
Such polarisation could become more marked going forward, as consumers opt to either buy more cheaply or buy fewer but better quality items.
Consumer research shows that many people buy underwear just for replacement, so the challenge is to drive more ‘wants’ interest, especially as outerwear fashion trends are favourable for the sector (slim silhouettes).
How is competing on design, differentiation, choice, service and added value essential in order to attract customers?
Why is it important for retailers to encourage more women to be fitted for bras, and how can this lead to more sales?
What impact will the trend for body conscious silhouettes and for skirts/dresses have for shapewear and hosiery?
How can niche sectors such as sports bras and fashion-maternity underwear realise their potential?
Why is it beneficial to merchandise hosiery alongside clothing?
What can multichannel retailers do to make sure their online and in-store operations operate seamlessly alongside one another?
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