Retailers running the gamut of categories, including teen label American Eagle, specialty store Express and leather goods firms Coach and Kate Spade have all recently pulled back on their promotional strategies.
At American Eagle and Express, shoppers have continued making purchases despite a reduction in discounts, whereas Coach is preemptively pulling back on its promotional cadence in hopes of restoring its reputation as a must-have brand. Similarly, under the new leadership of CEO Brian Cornell, Target has focused more on the "expect more" aspect of its "expect more, pay less" strategy.
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And strong demand for activewear, a category in which women's sales increased 8 percent last year, has allowed companies including Under Armour and Lululemon to maintain their premium pricing.
"The segments of apparel land where there's strong growth, you're not seeing [promotions]," Johnson said.