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Would people quit buying clothes?

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  • Would people quit buying clothes?

    I'm wondering. If a we went into an economic depression again, would people quit buying clothes as one of their spending elimination acts?

    If they're like my wife, most have enough clothes to last through several depressions if their body size didn't change. In a real depression, many of our fatties out there might lose some weight. Then they'd need other clothes. Reckon they'd join us and just quit wearing them when they didn't need to?

  • #2
    Originally posted by RalphVa View Post
    I'm wondering. If a we went into an economic depression again, would people quit buying clothes as one of their spending elimination acts?

    If they're like my wife, most have enough clothes to last through several depressions if their body size didn't change. In a real depression, many of our fatties out there might lose some weight. Then they'd need other clothes. Reckon they'd join us and just quit wearing them when they didn't need to?
    I can answer that as I work in retail/fashion. During economic hardship, retailers struggle. When consumers are cutting back on spending, retail stores struggle to make a dollar. To get people to buy, stores do a lot of "promotional" events.

    When the government gave out the stimulus checks to Americans, retail sales were up about .3% I believe.

    Now that we are struggling economically, retail sales are down about .1%. It isn't just the fact that people are not spending but also because gas prices are so high.

    Retailers operate their business in "seasons" (i.e. back to school, Holiday, Black Friday etc etc). The most important "season" is Black Friday. If you don't make your black friday numbers, you can forget about making your year. Black Friday is big for stores as it is the one time they have to mark down goods that aren't selling and clean up their inventory before the end of the fiscal year.

    The funny thing about this is during economic hardship, luxury retailers like Saks, Bloomingdales, and Bergdorf Goodman do pretty well. This is especially true right now. Because the dollar is so week against the Euro and other currencies, tourists are going to these stores and just buying up. In addition, the wealthy are not greatly affected by the economy as the middle and lower class. A surprising thing is that women, during economic hardship, sometimes shop at luxury stores when they are watching their money. Normally, they treat themselves to shoes and hand bags.

    To really answer your Q, people do not stop buying clothes but they seek out bargains and promotions. If people ever need to buy clothes: the best time to shop are black friday, and 1 month before new season...for ex: to get cheap summer clothes, best time to shop is a month before back to school.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Croydon View Post
      If people ever need to buy clothes: the best time to shop are black friday
      Forgive my ignorance, I've heard the term before, but what/when exactly is "Black Friday"?

      This may be a different recession. One jeweller was quoted in yesterday's paper as having had her first sale ever - 25% off - in order to move her stock. Nobody wanted to buy.

      Maybe that should be our new definition of a recession vs. a depression. The old: a recession is when your neighbour loses their job, a depression is when you lose your job. The new: a recession is when low to mid end retailers see sales drop off, a depression is when even the high-end retailers start seeing sales drop off.

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      • #4
        I don't think most people would stop....

        but they would slow down quite a bit.

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        • #5
          Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving sale. I work at Wal-mart and we call it "Blitz" but most people use black Friday. There have been instances of violence with people trying to get sale items. To answer the first question, yes if clothes sales stopped over night it would hurt the economy. Places like Wal-Mart would lose a fair chuck of sales while places like Belk and J.C.Penney would lose a large majority. The one thing that would soften the blow is that since so many clothes are imported now the impact on the manufacturing side of things would be smaller, though obviously anything that is American made would suffer greatly.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by jon71 View Post
            Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving sale. I work at Wal-mart and we call it "Blitz" but most people use black Friday. There have been instances of violence with people trying to get sale items.
            Thanks - now I remember. I'm north of the border, and we Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving a bit earlier. (Probably that's because our climate means that we have to harvest earlier.) As a result, we don't have a Black Friday.

            To answer the first question, yes if clothes sales stopped over night it would hurt the economy. Places like Wal-Mart would lose a fair chuck of sales while places like Belk and J.C.Penney would lose a large majority. The one thing that would soften the blow is that since so many clothes are imported now the impact on the manufacturing side of things would be smaller, though obviously anything that is American made would suffer greatly.
            Most clothing is now being made overseas, especially on the low end, and from what I'm hearing, they're busy chasing the lowest possible wage - apparently the Chinese clothing manufacturers are losing out to other, even lower-wage spots. Yes, American manufacturers would be hurt, so would many of America's trading partners. I wonder what impact that would have on the rest of the world's economy: not a good one I bet.

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            • #7
              I would imagine that the type of clothing that is "discretionary" would decrease in sales. Essential clothing would still be purchased, even if at longer intervals.

              I woke up to a temperature of -3C this morning. We definitely need clothes in this neighbourhood!

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              • #8
                People would certainly cut back. I know we have cut back now that I am going toschool and not earning a steady income. I also shop at the cheaper places when I need a new pair of pants or a dress shirt for an interview I shop at Goodwill or Thrift shops. I have gotten some good deals $2.50 for a lightly used pair of jeans the other day. We are definately in the Fall season here in northern Washington state had the first frost last night. So warm functional clothing is a must.

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                • #9
                  People will just buy cheaper clothes, not go without them.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by country nude View Post
                    People will just buy cheaper clothes, not go without them.
                    Yeah, clothes have their uses, so of course people will continue buying them, they just won't spend as much on them as they used to.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by country nude View Post
                      People will just buy cheaper clothes, not go without them.
                      Or they can just stick with what they have. Jesus may have talked about 'clothing the naked' back when a peasant may have owned only 1 buck skin to wear or had nothing at all; but times have changed. These days everyone has cloths thanks to mass production. If they loose their jobs they may have to buy second hand or (**gasp**) wear the same thing that they wore last season, but they will not be running around naked.

                      As for retailers (high end vs low end) feeling this crunch.....

                      I bartend for a chain of casual dining restaurants. This summer we actually beat our projected expectations while the fine dining place across the street (owned by the same parent company) was under performing. We're in Boca Raton, a well off town, and I think that when things started to go south the low end stopped eating out or cut down on it. The high end went lower (i.e. go to Chili's, TGIFriday's & Wal-Mart instead of Sac's 5th Ave & Chop's) but now even they are cutting down. One of my bar regulars told me that he read that liquor is semi-recession proof. "semi" because what happens is people just switch to lower end brands. I've seen it my self, as a bartender I know most customers by their drink preferences rather than their names even. I see people who used to drink stoli or sky vodka now ordering "well" or "house" vodka, the cheap stuff. Granted that's only saving them $1.50 per round but that's everyone's mentality these days.

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                      • #12
                        The economy definitely has an effect on dining out. Several small places have cut back their menu and hours, and some of them closed due to lack of business, while most of the ones in my immediate area that I would say are bigger with a bar continue to do a thriving business. the ones on unemployment or limited income like SS or public assistance seem to be most affected by it.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RalphVa View Post
                          If they're like my wife, most have enough clothes to last through several depressions if their body size didn't change. In a real depression, many of our fatties out there might lose some weight. Then they'd need other clothes. Reckon they'd join us and just quit wearing them when they didn't need to?
                          Something about the use of the word "fatties" here strikes me as derogatory and demeaning. There are a dozen other ways someone overweight can be described that would be much better, I think. Am I wrong?

                          ~

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