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Discount, Value Channels Drive Fashion Brand-based Growth in 2018

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Retail sales of licensed fashion brand-based goods jumped 1.6% in 2018, with most of the growth emerging from discount and value retailers.

Despite the loss of thousands of retail storefronts over 2018, sales through brick-and-mortal locations grew 1.1% overall, while ecommerce sales grew 5.1% and other channel sales (including experiential and subscription box-based sales) jumped 21.2%.

Ecommerce sales jumped 5.1% in 2018, or $92 million, to reach $1.9 billion. At just 8.6% share, physical retail channels continue to dominate fashion-based sales.

Discounters and value channels led growth by sheer dollar value, adding $136 million in sales as well as 0.1 percentage point in share of distribution sales. The channel jumped 1.6% in 2018 thanks to a downstream shifting of sales from higher channels. While sales are expected to expand in coming years, growth is expected to face a bottleneck from fashion house hesitant to hurt their brand image.

Specialty channel-based sales were flat at 0.6% ($34 million) to remain at $5.7 billion, thanks in part to specialty store closures and a resulting shifting of sales to other channels. The category dropped 0.2 percentage points in overall share of retail channels.

Department and mid-tier channel sales were also relatively flat with just 0.9% growth ($49 million), for a total of $5.3 billion. While sales have slowed somewhat in 2018, they are expected to pick up in 2019.

Although sales through mail order have slumped every since since TLL first began tracking the channel for 2009, in 2018, it unexpectedly jumped 1.0% (or $3 million). At just $275 million in sales, the category occupies just 1.2% total share of licensed sales by distribution channel.

TV shopping also emerged steadfast, with sales up 1.2% to remain steady at $236 million in 2018.

The driving force behind the 21.2% growth in the “other” distribution channel was subscription box-based sales, which helped drive $23 million in total growth for fashion-based licensed sales.

Retail Sales of Licensed Fashion Merchandise, by Distribution Channel, U.S. & Canada, 2017–2018. Note: Numbers may not add up exactly due to rounding.(Figures in millions)

Retail Sales of Licensed Fashion Merchandise, by Distribution Channel, U.S. & Canada, 2017–2018
Note: Numbers may not add up exactly due to rounding.
(Figures in millions)
Distribution Channel Retail Sales, 2018 Retail Sales, 2017 Change, 2017–2018 Share, 2018
Discounters and Value $8,637 $8,501 1.6% 39.1%
Specialty Stores $5,678 $5,644 0.6% 25.7%
Department and Mid-tier $5,252 $5,203 0.9% 23.7%
Ecommerce $1,905 $1,812 5.1% 8.6%
Mail Order $275 $272 1.0% 1.2%
TV Shopping $236 $234 1.2% 1.1%
Other $133 $110 21.2% 0.6%
Total $22,116 $21,776 1.6% 100.0%


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