The apparel industry’s rocky road to economic recovery included plenty of bright spots and pitfalls in 2015.
On the bright side was robust retail development, which included a number of new mall projects that opened this year as well as several high-profile renovations. Retailers also got a little more technical this year, exploring new ways to crunch consumer data and provide better consumer experiences in-store and online.
Challenges included the West Coast port slowdown as contract negotiations dragged on through the first half of the year and the approved increase in Los Angeles’ minimum wage, which is set to go into effect in stages over the next five years. The year saw two apparel giants file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and a longstanding retail chain reinvent itself as a private company.
The industry watched all year as denim brands Joe’s Jeans and Hudson struggled to find financial footing, and, after hushed negotiations, importers pored over the details of the newly approved Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.