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Retailers Kick Off the Year with New Denim Fits and Deep Discounts

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Fashion retail is taking the adage “out with the old, in with new” literally this winter, but not without relying on discounts to make room for fresh stock.

Though retailers are working to reset the pre-pandemic year-round promotional calendar that consumers have grown to expect, a new report by retail analytics company Edited shows that over half of the products available online are advertised as discounted.

While the number of new arrivals in the U.S. trumps the number of products discounted for the first time by 35 percent, retailers are opting for deep discounts to shed their inventory. Edited reports that 10 percent of U.S. assortments are discounted at 51 percent on average. In contrast, 14 percent of new U.K. products are marked down at an average range of 35 percent.

Glimmers of this reset, however, are present. By using the Edited Visual Merchandising function, the firm found that the word “new” was used 15 percent more than the word “sale” in over 500 retailers in the U.S. and U.K.

“More tellingly the use of ‘sale’ dropped 23 percent YoY, further indication that retailers have pivoted away from marketing January as a clearout period,” Edited stated.

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Despite the number of new arrivals dipping 27 percent compared the same time last year, trends in brand-new products are emerging.

The denim industry’s focus on women’s non-skinny jean silhouettes is closely tied to new arrivals. “Relaxed-fit denim continued to land in both regions with new wide-leg styles at Bershka, split-hems at PrettyLittleThing and straight-leg jeans at Zara,” Edited stated.

Recent launches by Levi’s, including its slouchier 501 and the soon-to-be-released circular version of the iconic style, echo this trend. Gap’s new collection includes deconstructed straight legs for women. Relaxed tapered, straight and curve fits are among Citizens of Humanity’s latest arrivals.

Jeans also make good fodder for e-mail marketing. “Denim fit guides and category-specific emails have been communicated by Banana Republic and Anthropologie to compliment new season drops,” Edited stated.

Denim is impacting color trends as well. “Blues sat within the top three colors arriving at the start of January, due to new denim trickling into the market,” Edited stated. The color equaled 12 percent of U.S. assortments and 17 percent of assortments in the U.K.

Very Peri, Pantone’s purple-blue 2022 Color of the Year, has yet to see a “mass uptake,” but purer shades of purple are infiltrating women’s trend-oriented retailers like Boohoo and Nasty Gal, Edited noted. The royal hue gained momentum last year in denim, with labels like Marine Serre, Etudes and MSGM including it in their Fall/Winter 21-22 collections.