Q3 Retail Index – Apparel

With widespread concerns that the Back-to-School season would underperform, a prime target for a rough quarter was the Apparel sector. Yet, looking back at eleven of the top players in offline apparel showed a very different story.

Widespread Growth

When analyzing eleven of the top players in the space, ten saw growth from Q2 to Q3 with Kohl’s seeing a massive 12.5% increase over the second quarter. Of the group analyzed, only Macy’s saw a decrease, though the company was up over 10% year-over-year demonstrating that the likely cause could be the brand’s seasonality.

The ability to avoid a negative dive in a time when offline apparel was being widely derided – especially brands looking at a wide audience – shows a unique strength that could help define a revival amid lowered expectations.

Off-Price Leadership

While there have already been signs that off-price retailers are enjoying a period of strength, the difference was marked in Q3 with Kohls, T.J. Maxx and Ross accounting for 45.5% of the quarterly visits to these retailers, and the latter two being leaders in the space. With Marshalls and Macy’s also seeing over 10% market share each, it is clear that the trend continued into Q3 with potentially major ramifications moving into the holiday period.

Shifting Loyalties?

And this speaks to one of the elements that makes the sector so interesting. Apart from the fairly even split among the top players in the space, there is no clear winner in the customer loyalty department either. Ross sees the highest number at just over 2 visits for the period, but even the worst performer of the group saw 1.4 visits. This leaves the door open for a player that can effectively capture another component of the retail spectrum in order to increase the regularity of visits.


This introduces a fundamental question into a race heavily dominated by even returns for the off-price category – how do you stand apart? From a potential Old Navy spinoff to a JC Penney rebrand, there are many tactics in the works by these players.

But will they help drive a surge? Visit Placer.ai to find out.

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