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High Denim Sellout Rates Signal Inventory Planning Opportunities

From new denim constructions, weights and washes to the steps global mills are taking to reduce impact, Rivet's SS23 In Season Look Book: Denim & Trims has everything you need to know for a successful denim season.

Retailers challenged by inventory planning for the holiday season can look to denim to save the day. According to Edited, the category has one of the highest sellout rates in the apparel space.

The retail intelligence platform reported a 147 percent increase in denim sellouts compared to 2020—specifically with jeans, which made up 60 percent to 71 percent of sellouts across regions. High-waist styles are reportedly the safest bet, as the rise was the most popular among the sellouts despite all of the commotion surrounding low-rise denim’s inevitable return.

Similarly, Edited data shows an 80 percent increase in activewear sellouts compared to last year, most notably in athletic footwear, which currently makes up 30 percent to 43 percent of sellouts. Activewear’s boom is a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw an overall surge in activewear and athleisure apparel as consumers prioritized comfort within the confines of their homes. Brands such as Levi Strauss & Co. and Wolverine Worldwide have followed this trend, expanding beyond their respective core competencies in denim and footwear to acquire activewear-focused companies Beyond Yoga and Sweaty Betty, respectively.

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Sports bras and briefs also have notably high sellout rates, bridging the gap between the activewear and underwear categories. Overall, underwear has seen a 210 percent increase in sellouts since last year, with underpants making up 52 percent to 62 percent of the majority SKU sellouts and bras representing 34 percent to 43 percent of sellouts. The space is undoubtedly growing, as Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty line of inclusive intimates looks to expand into brick-and-mortar stores next year and designer Heron Preston recently reimagined Calvin Klein underwear and jeans for a new consumer.

Another direct result of the pandemic, dresses are among the most popular apparel categories experiencing high sellout rates. Edited reports a 182 percent increase in sellouts since last year, and expects the number to increase as holiday celebrations and other formal events are likely to resume. Specialty denim retailer Abercrombie & Fitch echoed this sentiment when it debuted its venture into wedding guest apparel in August with its “Best Dressed Guest” collection for all genders.

The denim, activewear, underwear and dresses categories are expected to be good investments for retailers challenged by the current state of the global supply chain, which is currently marked by overloaded ports, closed factories and surging shipping rates as a result of the pandemic and rising oil prices.