Off-Brand Clothing Outselling Name-Brand Clothing (By a Lot)

While the Retail Apocalypse™ has been blamed on (in no particular order) the rise of e-commerce, the fall of malls, debt, and shifting consumer habits, a new story from Bloomberg is citing the success of giant retailers’ private labels as a major cause.

Noting that private labels, meaning those cheapo in-house brands sold by massive chains, “don’t need to inspire… they just need to satisfy a need,” the story explains how the lines are now outselling many competing name brands.

When taken together, in-house brands accounted for 20 percent of the entire activewear market, for instance, a share that “makes store brands in aggregate larger than any single brand, which should strike fear in the executive suites of Lululemon Athletica, Nike, and Under Armour.”

And while Amazon is set to “leapfrog T.J. Maxx… and Macy’s Inc. to become the second-biggest seller of apparel and footwear in the U.S.,” it’s not just our favorite whipping post that has a thriving in-house label. Walmart, Target and even supermarket mainstay Kroger are “beefing up their clothing lines to grab shoppers whose loyalty to established brands such as Gap and Nike has waned.”

And waned it has. “Under Armour has been battered by slowing growth in athletic footwear,” the story notes. “J.Crew Group has struggled to reinvent itself after the departure of longtime Chief Executive Officer Mickey Drexler, and Gap’s only bright spot lately is its off-price Old Navy chain. Even mighty Nike this year announced its first major layoffs since the financial crisis.”

And if the usually resilient activewear market is feeling the pressure from non-brands with names that could be refrigerator magnet creations, it’s only a matter of time until the rest of the industry starts feeling it too.

You can read more about it at Bloomberg.

[image via]at Bloomberg.

  • Tim Sullivan

    man… fuck this.