Women's and Children'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 6,900 women’s, children’s, and infant apparel wholesalers in the US act as middlemen between apparel suppliers and retailers. Major revenue categories include dresses and blouses; outerwear; underwear; and infant and children’s clothing. Some firms also sell men’s and boy’s clothing, unisex clothing, and furs. Because the majority of apparel sold in the US is produced overseas, most wholesalers must work with long lead times.

Trends, Fads, and Seasonality

The apparel market is driven by fashion trends and fads, which create uneven demand for wholesalers.

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 women's, children's, and infant apparel wholesaler operates out of a single location, employs 8-9 workers, and generates $9-10 million annually.

    • The women's, children's, and infant apparel wholesale industry consists of about 6,900 firms that employ about 60,400 workers and generate about $67 billion annually.
    • The women's, children's, and infant apparel wholesale industry is fragmented; the top 50 companies account for 37% 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 VF Corporation (The North Face, Dickies, JanSport, Easkpak) and PVH Corporation (Calvin Klein, Izod, Olga, Warner's).
                              Industry Forecast
                              Women's and Children's Apparel Wholesalers Industry Growth
                              Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                              Recent Developments

                              Nov 11, 2022 - Apparel a Top Category for Holiday Spending
                              • Apparel is a top category for holiday spending this year, according to a recent survey released by market research firm NPD Group. About 43% of respondents reported needing new coats, jackets, and other outerwear. NPD suggests the need for wardrobe updates is being driven by the return to offices, parties, and other in-person gatherings. Over the past two years, outerwear spending has been muted as people spent more time at home and opted for layering instead of buying new coats and jackets, which has created some pent-up demand.
                              • Despite high inflation and rising interest rates, the National Retail Federation (NRF) expects consumer spending to remain resilient this holiday season. While the NRF acknowledges consumers are feeling the pinch of higher interest rates and inflation, it believes economic fundamentals – including job growth, rising wages, and savings accumulated during the pandemic - will sustain consumer spending. The NRF also points to US gross domestic product growth of 2.6% in the third quarter as evidence that the US economy hasn’t slipped into recession. The NRF forecasts holiday spending will rise between 6% and 8% over 2021 levels to reach between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion. The outlook for 2022 is down from the 13.5% rise seen in 2021 but is better than the average 4.9% growth seen over the last decade.
                              • While some are expecting a brisk peak shopping season, many retailers are still busy trying to unload overstocked inventories to make way for holiday goods, according to Retail Dive. In a survey of retail executives released by Accenture in October, 99% said they had increased promotional activities as part of their holiday plans, and 35% said they were deeply discounting or using other strategies to reduce excess inventory. Some industry watchers suggest a pullback in consumer spending could result in retailers’ bloated inventory issues bleeding into 2023. Widespread apparel inventory excesses on the retail level could reduce wholesale demand.
                              • Amid inflation, 38% of consumers said they plan to spend less on gifts this holiday season than last year, according to a survey by Morning Consult released in November. About 45% of shoppers said they planned to spend about the same as they spent in 2021. The most popular gift category is gift cards, with 56% of survey respondents saying they planned to give them. Gift cards are not as affected by inflation as goods and allow for greater control over spending. Other popular gifts include apparel (39% of gift buyers), toys (36%), money (33%), and holiday food and alcohol (29%).
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