‘Missy’ apparel misses the boat

It’s going to be a though time for retailers, that sell to more mature women, according to Reuters’ research ‘Missy’. Whilst inventory valuations stayed relatively high in 2007, investing in bargains doesn’t seem to be answer either. Even though the term ‘Missy’ makes you think of a young vivid female, it also refers to safe clothing styles for 40 plus women. Over the last year ‘Missy’ is the equivalent for dramatic and dropping sale figures, stock prices, excessive inventory, dramatic discounting and disappointing profits for apparels like Chico’s FAS Inc., Coldwater Creek Inc. and Talbots Inc. The uncertain earnings prospects involve risky valuations and it’s not sure if the inventories are a cheap investment or actually expensive. Chico’s stock went down with 54%, Coldwater saw a drop of 73% and Talbots downed with 47%.

Company executives haven’t found a solution yet, to change around the negative developments of Missy. A quick fix with the weakened economy seems to be out of the question as well. Shopping behavior during economical hard times show us, that mothers and grandmothers are the first to spend less on themselves, compared to their teenage children or grandchildren.

Besides the economic conditions, Missy’s fashion plays a part as well. Due to avoiding the latest trends and focusing on classic shapes and styles, there’s no reason for consumers to update their wardrobe every season. This together with reductions at department stores like Macy’s, effects wallet-watching consumers.

One step forward could be presenting more fashionable clothes for the 40 year old woman and up. Chico is scaling down its store expansion place, Amid wants its clothes to be more fashionable and Talbots has reorganised their creative and merchandising departments. Despite retailers trying to meet its consumer needs, the new fashion won’t be in stores before the end of spring, which makes it unlikely to notice any changes before the second half of next year.

Image: Laura Ashley


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