Men's and Boy's Apparel Wholesalers

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 3,200 men’s and boy’s apparel wholesalers in the US act as middlemen between apparel manufacturers and retailers. They purchase apparel and accessories in large quantities from manufacturers and importers and resell them to retailers. Some firms have exclusive relationships with manufacturers to sell within a designated territory. Wholesalers often represent multiple apparel manufacturers and carry a variety of categories, brands, and styles. Some firms specialize in past season or overstock merchandise.

Competition with Large Apparel Manufacturers

Big apparel companies and importers serve large accounts, such as department store chains and mass merchandisers, directly and operate their own distribution networks.

Complex Supply Chain

The apparel supply chain is long and complex, and typically involves numerous parties, many of which are located overseas.

Industry size & Structure

The average men's and boy's apparel wholesaler operates out of a single location, employs fewer than 20 workers, and generates about $18-19 million annually.

    • The men's and boy's apparel wholesale industry consists of about 3,000 firms that employ 55,600 workers and generate about $55 billion annually.
    • The men's and boy's apparel wholesale industry is somewhat concentrated; the top 50 companies account for 66% of industry revenue.
    • Most domestic apparel companies (which are technically classified as apparel manufacturers) own or license brand names and outsource the majority of production to third-party manufacturers overseas. These apparel companies are often referred to as wholesalers because they sell apparel at wholesale to major accounts.
    • Large apparel companies with wholesale operations include Perry Ellis (Perry Ellis, Munsingwear, Penguin) and Oxford Industries (Tommy Bahama, Southern Tide).
                              Industry Forecast
                              Men's and Boy's Apparel Wholesalers Industry Growth
                              Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                              Recent Developments

                              May 12, 2023 - Renewed Focus on Supply Chain Resilience
                              • Chief financial officers (CFOs) are expected to continue their renewed focus on boosting supply chain resilience following the turbulence of the pandemic, according to the Wall Street Journal. Many CFOs report they are communicating and coordinating more frequently with supply-chain and logistics officers, allocating funds to improve inventory tracking, boosting automation, and diversifying supply lines to ensure they are not dependent on a single production source. Finance chiefs are reducing risk by increasing their company’s supplier base, adding suppliers from new geographic regions, suppliers who can respond quickly to demand fluctuations, and suppliers closer to the end destination. According to Jimmi Sue Smith, finance chief at Koppers Holdings, “There’s definitely a focus on having a diversity in your supply base, so not being single sourced, if you can avoid it at all. Things that maybe you didn’t put as much value on before, you do today.”
                              • Sales for clothing and clothing accessory stores decreased 2% unadjusted year over year and more than 1% month over month seasonally adjusted in March 2023, according to data released by the National Retail Federation. Overall retail sales were up 2.9% in March 2023 over a year ago but down 1% from February 2023, according to the US Census Bureau. NRF’s retail sales calculation, which excludes car dealers, gas stations, and restaurants, showed an increase of 4.6% unadjusted year over year and down 0.5% month over month in March 2023. According to NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay, “Retail sales moderated in March after posting strong gains in the first two months of the year. Continued easing of inflation and the overall strength of the job market and wages are keeping the fundamentals of the consumer economy strong and should support their ability to spend on household priorities through 2023.”
                              • Apparel retailers are increasing their use of inventory tracking systems on the sales floor as they fulfill more online orders in local stores, according to the Wall Street Journal. Nordstrom, American Eagle Outfitters, and Victoria’s Secret were cited as examples of merchants expanding their use of radio frequency identification (RFID) chips to provide better visibility to retailers about merchandise inventory within a store. New advanced chip technology, along with the lower price of chips, has allowed retailers to track individual items. Chips can be embedded in a price tag or security tag. As online sales have taken off, retailers increasingly have their stores do double duty as distribution centers and offer services such as buy online and pick up in stores. The closer tracking gives retailers more insight into shoppers’ habits, assists stores with filling orders placed online, reduces shrinkage, and lets store workers better track merchandise.
                              • The National Retail Federation (NRF) is projecting US retail sales growth of 4% to 6% in 2023, climbing to more than $5 trillion. In 2022, retail sales grew by 7% to $4.9 trillion. The non-store and online sales segment is expected to grow by 10% to 12% in 2023 to a range of $1.41 trillion to $1.43 trillion. Much of the growth is driven by multichannel sales, which uses the physical store as part of the fulfillment process. Brick-and-mortar stores remain the primary point of purchase for consumers, accounting for some 70% of total retail sales. According to NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay, “In just the last three years, the retail industry has experienced growth that would normally take almost a decade by pre-pandemic standards. While we expect growth to moderate in the year ahead, it will remain positive as retail sales stabilize to more historical levels.”
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