Kids Holding Off On Buying New Clothes

Aug 25, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Forget about being fashion-forward. This year’s group of high school students is taking a wait-and-see attitude about buying new clothes, preferring instead to see what everyone else is wearing before going on a shopping expedition to the local mall.

According to a study by the consumer research firm, NPD Group, over 56 percent of consumers said they would wait until September before starting their back-to-school clothes shopping.

Janine Nebons, general manager at the Tanger Outlet Center in Riverhead, NY said she’s seen it. “The kids are holding back,” she told Newsday. “They’re not buying huge quantities of anything.”

The dilemma facing kids this year is whether to stay with the urban look that’s become popular in recent years or switch over to preppy styles that came about over the desire by some teens and many parents for more modest clothing styles.

Marshal Cohen, retail analyst with NPD said. “Usually stores show a combination of things. If I’m marketing to youth, I’ll show edgy, funky, surfy — four or five statements. This year it’s not about that. This year you go in because it’s urbanized or you go in because it’s preppy-ized.”

“It’s like you have to draw a line in the sand and say you’re either this or that,” he said.

Moderator’s Comment: Are the attitudes of kids about
what they wear different than they have in the past? What are the implications
for retailers?

It was interesting to note in the Newsday article
that one teenager may have identified an opportunity for department stores.
Jose Morales, 15, of Greenlawn, NY said he shops at Macy’s even though the prices
may be higher because they have a better selection of clothes than other stores.
Mr. Morales, who obviously was not among the 56 percent waiting on making clothing
purchases, has already spent $500, according to the article.
George Anderson – Moderator

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