Two FORTUNE Articles Featuring AAPN Members

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It's not just that time of year, but it's that time of the decade, when the round up posts and articles are coming thick and fast. These two pieces recently published in Fortune, one on apparel, one on retail in general, mention several AAPN members including Patagonia, Allbirds, Target and more, and are both worth a few minutes of your coffee break time.

How the 2010s Changed Retail Forever
How technology, frugality, and consumer exhaustion over boring stores helped upend the retail landscape.
FORTUNE: December 19, 2019

After the Great Recession, things were supposed to get better for retail.

As the 2008-09 financial crisis fueled the worst economic downturn since the 1930s, American shoppers abruptly pulled back on spending. When they did open their wallets, they traded down. Retail sales fell 3.6% in 2009, according to the National Retail Federation.

The carnage lifted certain retailers catering to deep frugality: Dollar General boomed as many sought to get cheaper items and save on gas by not having to drive to a Walmart, while T.J. Maxx found a whole legion of new shoppers looking for fashion brands at much lower prices. Others, especially department stores and specialty apparel chains, reeled.

The conventional wisdom in 2009 held that as the economy improved, shoppers would revert to their old habits. But they did not. Fast-forward to 2019, and discount chains remain among retail's brightest spot: Dollar General has nearly doubled its store count to 16,000, while T.J. Maxx and Marshalls’ store count jumped 50% to 2,400 locations. Read More

During the 2010s, Consumers Made Big Demands of the Apparel Industry
FORTUNE: December 19, 2019

The last decade has been a wild ride for apparel retailers. Consumers have been as bold about their choices as they were in selecting some 1970s fashions but, during the 2010s, it was less about the clothing styles and much much more about how and where apparel is sold.

At the start of the decade, the powerhouse generation of the millennials, then in their teens and twenties, wanted cheap chic fashions. Things have changed. Now aging into their thirties, these digital natives have gone soul-searching for more inclusive, sustainable, and “authentic” brands. As the U.S.’s largest living consumer demographic (they edged out the boomers this year), millennials continue to trigger massive change in how, when, and why we shop. “We have gone from shopping for an item to having a shopping experience,” said Vidya Mani, a professor at UVA's Darden School of Business. “Customers click, browse, buy. And none of these have to be at the store.”Read More