Amazon’s clothing coup
Amazon looks set to conquer America’s clothing market
Times are tough for America’s department stores. This month Macy’s, Kohl’s, JC Penney and Nordstrom all reported slumping sales. Foreign tourists are spending less; consumers are buying other types of goods. Even if they drift back, one threat looks likely to stay: Amazon. In 2011 the online retailer accounted for 1.4% of American sales of clothing, handbags and shoes. Next year Cowen, a financial services firm, expects it to overtake Macy’s as America’s top seller of apparel. Shoppers like the Amazon’s huge selection (about 19m items), easy shipping and partnerships with brands such as Adidas. Not all traditional retailers are floundering; on May 17th TJX reported a 7% bump in comparable sales. The firm’s stores satisfy those keen to hunt for discounted designer clothes—a quest hard to mimic online. But Cowen expects even TJX’s clothing sales to be less than half of Amazon’s by 2020.