How are you supposed to plan your Outerwear assortment when it's 75 degrees in December and 30 in May? While it's historically been a critical category for brands and retailers, a global abundance of strange and unseasonal weather has made it tricky to navigate. Retailers and analysts have not hesitated in recent years to attribute lower sales to slow-moving winter inventories, so to help you navigate and react to the 'new winter,' we've put together a snapshot of the last two weeks in the category.
Puffers, bombers, and long-line coat styles are blurring gender lines, and you're seeing styles like bombers move from fall to winter with additional insulation and longer profiles, particularly in men's. Playful colors and textures may be in the minority of styles, but they add a needed spark in a category dominated by black and graytones.
Let's look at one retailer's offering to see how they allocated their outerwear assortment. For women, the categories cover a wide range of profiles, while men's styles were dominantly puffers, wool overcoats, and short bomber jackets. Yep, women still have all the choices in fashion, and retailers willing to offer men more options could stand to reap the benefits.
Sell-out rates are low across channels at this point in the season, but the champion styles are those geared towards autumn temps (and over air-conditioned offices).
We took a look at average prices and discounting across the four key channels. As we've seen in other categories, the value and mid-tier department stores are caught up in an ongoing storm of discounting, and once again, this isn't resulting in higher sell-through.
Much remains to be seen as we move into the winter months, and we'll have our eyes on it as it plays out. Bundle up and stay tuned!