Sales growth in the clothing retail sector has not yet reached its peak

The clothing retail market was worth around 5.7 billion (gross) in the current observation year 2021 and recorded significant growth of +6.8%. Clothing retail sales accounted for approximately 4.3 billion (gross-to) of this figure, representing nominal growth of +5.0% in the crisis year 2020. Sales are thus gradually approaching pre-crisis levels again – albeit with plenty of room for improvement.

Among the retailers, Hennes&Mauritz remains the market leader with a significant distance,  with sales up 13.7% on the previous year. Peek&Cloppenburg, now the second-largest market player, also achieved a similar increase, having held the bronze title two years previously. C&A slipped from second to third place with current sales stagnation. Although C&A maintained its sales from the crisis year to the following year, it has recorded a subtle but constant decline in sales since 2016. The biggest downfall was in 2020 with a decrease of around 27%.

The Inditex Group likewise outperformed average growth, with sales up 11.3%. Kastner & Öhler held up well over the years as well. Together with Infected, the market player occupies the fifth place, closely followed by Kik. With a plus of slightly under 8%, the sixth-placed discount retailer is again approaching the top 5.

Even after the lockdowns, the situation in which stationary stores are under pressure from the online market, in particular, has not changed. The online share of consumer spending by private households was already a whopping 38% in 2021. That includes sales from domestic and foreign online stores of pure players and multi-channel sales of stationary retailers (e.g. Hennes&Mauritz).

Almost all larger stationary retailers in this sector already have online stores. However, the significant increases in recent years are particularly attributable to the pure player giants, Amazon, Universal and Zalando. Looking at the entire clothing trade, Zalando would be in second place behind H&M in terms of sales. Online retail is, therefore, still on the advance!

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