16 November 2011
The US apparel market remained relatively healthy in October, although growing at a lower pace than in September. Consumer confidence stayed strong in the past months in the United States, whatever the high level in unemployment. This is sharply contrasting with a looming depression on European clothing market.
US retail sales remained very firm in October, for the second consecutive month, as a clear sign that pessimism is far from depressing demand in the United States.
Overall retail sales were up 0.5% from the previous month, after taking account of seasonal variations.
From a year earlier, retail sales were up no less than 7.2%, not far from the 7.9% jump of October.
Retail sales however decelerated at clothing stores, according to official data, falling 0.7% from previous months, after seasonal adjustment.
From a year earlier, October apparel sales still rose 5.8%, but at lower pace than in September (8.7%).
Apparel chains also reported lower annual progression for same-store sales in October (see our below table).
Retail data are only in value terms and may reflect a lower increase in prices in the past month, from a year earlier.
With Black Friday and holiday sales now in sight, US apparel retailers will have a clearer view of the US consumption level for 2012.
Consumer confidence remained strong in the last months, surprisingly. Whatever the high level in unemployment and weaker real wages for a lot of US citizens, pessimism is not gaining ground.
This is possibly due to a relatively good result on equity markets.
This is also in sharp contrast with the gloomy picture being offered by the European clothing market, where depression looms.