Jul 12, 2021 - Economy

Next retail bump: America's great resizing

A person looking at jeans in a clothes store.

Jeffrey Greenberg/Getty Images

Pandemic lifestyles caused a slew of Americans to gain — or lose — weight. That resizing is helping drive retail sales up, as consumers adjust their wardrobes.

Driving the news: Levi Strauss' revenue last quarter grew 156% from a year ago, to $1.3 billion, the company reported Friday.

  • Levi CEO Chip Bergh cited the size-change phenomenon as an earnings factor in an interview with CNBC on Friday. "That obviously gives a good reason to go out and update a wardrobe," he said.

Why it matters: The pandemic has reshaped retail and apparel trends. We're only beginning to understand how some of those changes will impact businesses this year — but we'll know more after this earnings season.

By the numbers: In a March survey by consumer data provider NPD, 40% of women and 30% of men said they no longer fit into the sizes they wore last year.

  • Among those that reported a change, more went up in size than down.

This was driven by pandemic habits that tended toward either more snacking or more exercising, NPD says.

What to watch: With the economy expected to be completely reopened by fall, overall retail growth will slow from its recent clip.

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