Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Amazon Eats the Department Store

By Shelly Banjo

Amazon is already the biggest clothing seller online. It might soon overtake most of its brick-and-mortar rivals in fashion sales, as well.

There were no runway models on any Amazon catwalk at last week's New York Fashion Week. But the e-commerce giant still loomed large in the minds of retail executives watching it elbow its way into the fashion industry.

Stretching Out

Amazon is expected to triple its share of the U.S. apparel market over the next five years.

For the past decade, fashion brands had viewed Amazon as the enemy. Brands swore off selling goods on Amazon, bemoaning its cluttered website and the risk of counterfeit goods. 

Many reluctantly started their own websites, but continued to rely on department stores for the bulk of their sales. 

So Amazon started making its own private-label clothes. Itbought Zappos in 2009, turbo-charging shoe sales. And it focused on selling the basics, such as t-shirts, leggings, and jeans -- things people felt comfortable buying online and replenishing regularly.

As shoppers got more confident buying clothes on Amazon, that eroded the steady consumer spending on basic goods department stores once enjoyed. 

Amazon increased the number of apparel and accessory products on its website by 87 percent last year from the year before, as its apparel sales hit $16.3 billion, according to trade publication Internet Retailer. That's more than the combined online sales of its five largest online clothing competitors -- Macy's, Nordstrom, Kohl's, Gap, and Victoria's Secret parent L Brands.

1 comment:

  1. Between Amazon deep sixing brick and mortar stores, and the coming wave of self-driving cars and trucks, the US labor participation rate is going to take a nosedive.