Sorry, New York And Los Angeles: Smaller Markets Are Now Driving Clothing … – Forbes

New York and Los Angeles are the biggest U.S. markets selling clothing, but smaller regions like Orlando and Washington, D.C. are now the top markets fueling both growth rate and dollar volume increases for the apparel industry, according to market research firm The NPD Group.

At the same time, apparel sales are waning in brick-and-mortar stores, but growing online.

Although only a handful of U.S. regions in the top 25 designated market areas (DMA) grew in-store apparel sales during the 12 months ended February 2015, Orlando and Washington, D.C. generated strong performance both in-store and online, revealed an NPD study.

“The big regions are no longer leading apparel industry sales growth,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for The NPD Group, in a statement. “When New York and Los Angeles don’t even make it into the top 10 list of DMAs driving apparel growth, we have a big opportunity gap in the market. We need to understand the cause in order for the apparel industry to regain traction moving forward.”

While total apparel industry dollar sales grew 2% in the year ended February 2015, sales of apparel purchased in a store fell 2%,

The decline of in-store sales was reflected in most of the top 10 U.S. markets. Washington, D.C. was an outlier, with in-store sales up a robust 14%.

(Various industry lists rank retailers such as T.J. Maxx, The Gap and Walmart among the nation’s biggest apparel merchants.)

While clothing sales in brick-and-mortar sales are sluggish, the action online is a whole other story.

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