US retailers bring clothes back ‘above the keyboard’ as Delta rush continues

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Keen to keep its apparel sales momentum continuing in the second quarter, retailers from Macy’s Inc (MN) to Target Corp. Increase in COVID-19 infections in the United States.

Retailers saw sales of dresses, sports coats and children’s clothing soar in the second quarter as restrictions imposed by the pandemic were lifted. Now, the rapid spread of the delta variant in the United States is delaying the return to offices and threatening the return of in-person learning.

As customers continue to shop for clothes “over the keyboard” for video calls, Durand Geon, head of Macy’s fashion bureau, said they are also “trying to build a wardrobe to restore a bit of normalcy in their lives,” including styles for special occasions.

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The discount is stockpiling for hybrid education environments after a strong start to the back-to-school season, said Christina Hennington, Target’s executive vice president and director of growth, on the company’s second-quarter earnings call.

“As college freshmen look to move to campus for the first time, our marketing and inventory plans take into account the fact that many sophomores find themselves in the same position, having entered their first year of college in a virtual environment,” Hennington said. completely”. investors.

According to research firm NPD Group, unit sales of US apparel increased 12% in the second quarter of 2021 compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Shoppers look at fashion at a Dolce and Gabbana store on 5th Avenue in New York City, US, May 24, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

said Keith Jelinek, managing director of the retail practice at Berkeley Research Group.

Consumers are returning to the office in search of a wardrobe that’s fit for corporate life, but comfortable enough for a home office, said Kristin Claesi Zumo, an apparel analyst at NBD Group.

The shopping trends show that customers “want to put themselves together again,” Kirsten Bowen, senior vice president of design and marketing for White House Black Market, said. White House Black Market is owned by Chico’s FAS Inc (CHS.N).

Patrice Lovett, Ralph Lauren CEO, added in the post-earnings call, that male shoppers are wearing polo shirts, track coats, pants, jeans and shoes.

Hybrid work models have changed the dress code in the office, according to a survey from the NPD Group. Thirty-five percent of consumers in the United States now have a casual dress code at work, an increase of 7 percentage points from pre-pandemic levels.

Guion of Macy’s Inc said that as companies continue to experiment with hybrid models, office wear “will evolve over the next 12 to 18 months. It won’t happen overnight.”

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Additional reporting by Ariana McLemore in New York and Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Matthew Lewis

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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