Friday, February 24, 2006

MEN drive 2005 clothing sales

Top areas of growth? Suits, dress shirts, "polo/golf/rugby shirts".

Men's spending boosts 2005 apparel sales

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Men flocked to stores to buy suits and other tailored clothing last year, helping drive U.S. apparel sales up 4 percent overall, according to an industry study released on Tuesday.

. . . "The surge in men's apparel sales came from some of the most unexpected places, such as young men buying a suit," Marshal Cohen, who headed the study, said in a statement. "We are seeing a shift in the younger generation reaching their image through grooming and dressing up."

Indeed, Casual Male Retail Group Inc., known for its chain of Big & Tall stores for men, has said it will change the name and design of its flagship stores to better attract a younger, thinner, more fashion-conscious customer.

Demand for men's tops such as dress shirts and polo/golf/rugby shirts fueled much of the growth in the tops category, up 10 and 14 percent, respectively.

I know we'll never return to a time when men wore suits to baseball games (and women wore girdles to the grocery store), but this does seem to be promising . . .

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