Miscellaneous Apparel and Accessory Stores

SIC 5699

Industry report:

This industry consists of establishments primarily engaged in the retail sale of specialized apparel and accessories, such as bathing suits, belts, raincoats, riding and other sports apparel, T-shirts, umbrellas, uniforms, and wigs and toupees. This industry also includes men's and women's custom tailors.

A few of the items that are categorized within this industry are uniforms and work clothing; costumes and wigs; sports apparel; customized clothing and apparel; custom tailoring, including custom shirts; designer apparel; formal wear; leather garments; square dance apparel; costumes, masquerade or theatrical; marine apparel; and military goods and regalia.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 11,614 establishments were classified as "other clothing stores" in 2010. Together these firms employed 96,552 people who earned an annual payroll of $1.5 million. Small companies that employed fewer than five people accounted for more than 65 percent of the industry's establishments. The states with the most firms included California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Michigan. The largest sectors within the industry included sports apparel, uniforms, designer apparel, and customized clothing.

Four leading companies in industry sales reflect the diverse products represented in this classification. Ventura, California-based Lost Arrow Inc., best known as the parent holding company of Patagonia, focuses on clothing and active wear for outdoor sports and activities. In addition to Patagonia, Lost Arrow subsidiaries include Water Girl, a clothing and swimwear manufacturer for women; Lotus Designs, which specializes in clothing and accessories for water sports enthusiasts; and Great Pacific Iron Works, which is an outdoor apparel and gear retailer. Patagonia had annual sales of $400 million in 2011. Healthcare Uniform of Tampa, Florida, which does business as Life Uniform, is a leading supplier of high-quality uniforms and scrubs for the medical industry. The company operates retail outlets in major malls across the United States and sells its uniforms via its Web site. In 2006 Life Uniform expanded through its purchase of formal rival Uniform City. Revenues in 2011 were almost $42 million. Crazy Shirts Inc., a Waikiki-based T-shirt company that emerged with the 1960s surfing boom, has 35 unique shops located in Hawaii, California, Colorado, Nevada, and Florida. Norcostco Inc., headquartered in Minneapolis, supplies costumes, theatrical makeup, and wigs, as well as stage lighting, lamps, dimming systems, and automated lighting. The company also manufactures stage drops and draperies, rigging systems, fog machines and atmospheric effects, intercoms, paint and painting supplies, platforms, special effects, and stage hardware.

Cintas Corp. of Cincinnati, Ohio, was one of the largest suppliers of uniforms to U.S. businesses in the early 2010s, with big-name clients that included Delta Airlines, DHL, McDonald's, and Starbucks. It also provided first aid items, safety products, and other specialized services to 800,000 businesses worldwide. The company employed 30,000 people in 430 facilities, including six manufacturing plants and nine distribution centers.

In this industry, large companies typically own distribution centers where merchandise is sent by manufacturers, held for a short time, then shipped to outlets or stores. Manufacturers' sales representatives and the retailers' merchandise buyers link the manufacturer and retailer. Small retailers generally do not own distribution centers. They tend to purchase inventory from distributors representing several manufacturers, including items solicited through distributor catalogs. Unlike other stores in the fashion industry, establishments dealing in miscellaneous apparel and accessories traditionally have relied on catalogs and the Internet, and less on television and magazines, for advertising and customer sales.

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News and information about Miscellaneous Apparel and Accessory Stores

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