It may seem like revenue numbers in the apparel industry are irreparably damaged (mostly because we use adjectives like "plunging," "nose dive," "sagging," "dropping" and the ever-painful "belly flopping" in correlation with 2009 revenue). But if we take a quick glance at world apparel manufacturing markets, and ignore the adjective-heavy headlines, then there may be a different story to be told. While civil and political unrest in world markets like Kenya's and Honduras' have taken some toll, Asian, Indian and Bangladeshi manufacturers continue to hold and even grow in market share. The questions to be asked then are "Who is buying?" and "Where are they buying from?"
As an example, if we consider other upbeat 2009 news in the apparel sector, companies, promotional and retail, such as American Apparel, True Religion and Areopostale, all reported increased revenue (some of them upwards of 20%) for the first quarter of 2009. Also, U.S. apparel-selling giants like Wal-Mart and Kohl's held strong with only minuscule revenue loses.
So if we take the briefest of moments to analyze this data, the catchphrases for success in 2009 and the upcoming 2010 seasons can be summed up in two words: inexpensive and innovative. If buyers are not being razzle-dazzled by youthful style, smart marketing prowess and innovation then they darn well better be wowed by the bottom line.
What if you can't do either one? Then get out your favorite swimming trunks and get ready for some extreme belly flopping. Just be prepared, this one may hurt a little.