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4 Stocks to Buy as Apparel Market Makes a Steady Recovery

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Retailers have been worrying about rising costs for the past few months but that hasn’t really hampered sales. This has seen retail sales rise month over month in recent months, with the apparel segment driving sales.

The apparel segment remains a bright spot in the retail sector, as sales are being driven by higher demand for new clothes. This has been helping stocks like Levi Strauss & Co. (LEVI - Free Report) , Nordstrom, Inc.(JWN - Free Report) , Boot Barn Holdings, Inc. (BOOT - Free Report) and J.Jill, Inc. (JILL - Free Report) .

Apparel Sales on the Rise

The apparel segment has been trying to bounce back over the past few months as more people get back to work, plan vacations and shop for the summer. This saw clothing and accessories sales grow a solid 0.8% month over month in April, the Commerce Department said on Apr 17.

On a year-over-year basis, clothing and accessories sales jumped 11.2%, indicating that the segment is on track for a speedy recovery.

In fact, the overall retail sector has been performing well despite multiple challenges. Rising costs have been a cause of concern but people are still willing to spend as demand is on the rise. This has been helping the clothing and accessories market.

The apparel market has been steadily growing as millions get back to offices and schools as the economy continues to reopen. Moreover, people are also spending more on new clothes as they plan to refresh their wardrobes before summer.

Clothing Market Poised to Grow

Following the COVID-19 outbreak, people stayed and worked from their homes for almost two years, which saw them cutting down on spending on clothes. The apparel industry thus became one of the biggest casualties of the pandemic. Things started changing at the beginning of last year, as the economy started reopening.

However, it was a rough ride for apparel makers as Delta and Omicron, two new variants of the coronavirus, once again brought things to a halt. The industry finally started looking up at the end of 2021, and since then, the apparel market has been making a speedy recovery.

With millions now vaccinated, offices and schools have started functioning at optimum levels. Also, people are making plans for vacations. All these have suddenly seen a rise in demand for new clothing, which is helping the apparel segment.

However, rising costs remain a challenge for apparel retailers and consumers. Higher costs have already seen the Fed hike rates by a total of 75 basis points in its last two meetings, and more hikes are on the way.

This may be a cause of concern. However, so far, the rate hikes haven’t impacted the apparel segment as demand is on the rise. Moreover, personal income and expenditure are also increasing. Personal expenditure jumped 0.5% in March in the United States, while overall spending increased 1.1%.

Hiring is also on the rise, and unemployment is at an all-time low. As a result of having more cash on hand, spending is likely to increase in the near future, which will aid the apparel business.

Our Choice

Given this scenario, it would be wise to invest in these four apparel stocks. Each of the stocks carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Levi Strauss & Co. designs and markets jeans, casual wear and related accessories for men, women and children under the Levi's, Dockers, Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. and Denizen brands. LEVI’s products are sold through chain retailers, department stores, online sites and brand-dedicated retail stores and shop-in-shops. Levi Strauss & Co. is based in San Francisco, United States.

Levi Strauss & Co’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 5.4%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 2% over the past 60 days. LEVI carries a Zacks Rank #2.

Nordstrom, Inc. is a leading fashion specialty retailer in the United States. JWN offers an extensive selection of both branded and private-label merchandise, which are positioned in the upscale segment of the industry. Nordstrom offers high-quality apparel, shoes, cosmetics and related accessories for men, women, young adults and children through a variety of channels.

Nordstrom’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is more than 100%. Shares of JWN have gained 4.9% in the past three months.  Nordstrom has a Zacks Rank #2.

Boot Barn Holdings, Inc. operates as a lifestyle retail chain devoted to western and work-related footwear, apparel and accessories. BOOT’s products include boots, denim, western shirts, cowboy hats, belts and belt buckles, and western-style jewelry and accessories. Boot Barn sells its products through bootbarn.com, an e-commerce Website. 

Boot Barn Holdings’ expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 4.4%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 17.3% over the past 60 days. Boot Barn Holdings carries a Zacks Rank #1.

J.Jill, Inc. operates as a specialty retailer of women’s apparel. JILL offers sweaters, tops, pants, dresses, shorts, skirts, sleepwear and accessories. J. Jill markets through retail stores, website and catalog.

J.Jill’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 5.2%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 24.4% over the past 60 days. JILL has a Zacks Rank #1.