Though there hasn't been one big trend to emerge on the spring selling floors, some analysts are optimistic that the styles that have hit shelves could get consumers spending. Jefferies analyst Randal Konik listed off-the-shoulder tops, bralettes and cropped camisoles paired with high-waisted shorts as some emerging styles.
"After a prolonged period of fashion staleness, we are seeing some new trends forming," he said.
Konik added that pockets of "warm, spring-like temperatures" in the Northeast over the past few weeks have helped drum up traffic, telling investors earlier this month that stores were the "busiest we have seen in some time."
Still, analysts caution that it's too early to call a comeback in apparel. Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist at the National Retail Federation, said last week that consumers remain cautious, and are still in saving mode. Meanwhile Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics, said that pricing pressure continues to weigh on retailers, thanks to the growth of cheap fast-fashion labels and transparency on the Web. Petro agreed that such pressure is "not going away in the near term."
Yet while it may be too soon to plant a victory flag, Perkins said there are signs that something's afoot in apparel.
"It looks like there's a burgeoning return to apparel spending that might be starting to take place," he said. "Maybe we will see a shift in [consumers'] focus."