“Menswear sales rose 4% on the year, with women’s wear increasing by 3% and children’s wear up 6%, the company added .
“For women’s wear, dresses showed the strongest growth, with sales up 17% on 2010, while tights and sheer hosiery increased 8% and intimate apparel 6% .
“Growth in men’s apparel was primarily driven by the “dressing-up” trend, with dress shirts revenues rising by 14%, suits up 23%, sports coats up 20% and underwear rising 7% .
““This is a marked improvement over the prior years,” said NPD chief industry analyst Marshal Cohen ““I believe this is testament to the use of sales and value pricing by retailers that did in fact get the consumer to respond .
““I think this also goes back to the ‘Frugal Fatigue’ phenomenon we have been watching. It seems to have materialized for apparel in 2011 as consumers finally got back to building their wardrobes again.” Among the main retail channels, manufacturer-owned stores recorded a 15% sales increase, off-price and speciality stores were both up 6%, department and national chain stores increased 3% and the mass-merchant channel rose 1% .
““These channel results demonstrate that the consumer’s pursuit of value has become more about ‘brand names for less,’ and less about getting the lowest prices,” added Cohen .