Shopping at Women’s Retailers

Recently the Washington Post published a story asking the question: Why are sales suffering at so many women’s stores?  Sales figures are down across the board in retail, and stores are looking for ways to reach customers.  As a consumer who visited many of the stores mentioned in the Washington Post article during the back to school shopping season, I saw precisely what the article talked about: high prices, limited size & fit of items and lastly, where is the quality! Are the these pieces going to last? Are they made with durable fabrics? Is the stitching of high quality? Here are my thoughts on shopping at some of the women’s retailers mentioned in the article.

Anthropologie. I visit the Northpark location of Anthro all the time. Recently they moved to a larger location in the mall that is well lit, and has an expanded offering of housewares and furniture. However, I’ve never made a purchase at the store! Everything is too expensive! As the Post article mentions , there are pieces at Antrho that can be deemed as ethic or tribal. For example,  dresses made with what looks to be wax print fabric, which is widely worn in West Africa. But for the price, I can call my aunt in Accra and have a dress made with a similar pattern but at a much lower price! As for fit, I’ve never tried anything on there either! The sizes of available items at Anthro look to be too small.

Loft & Ann Taylor. I do shop at Loft and Ann Taylor often, they are owned by the same company, Ann Inc. As a card holder I receive notice of sales, along with coupons in the mail and via email quite often. It seems like there is always a sale at these stores! 40% off regular price items or 40% off select styles. I usually wait until they offer 50% off sale and regular priced item sales. Apart from what seems to be constant sales another concern is quality. I’ve purchased about two cardigans at Loft in the past year or so and and both have a rip near the collar. Very disappointed in the quality of the cardigans especially when I follow the care instructions on the label! A couple of weeks ago I received an email asking me to join the Ann Taylor Influencer. I gladly joined because I would love to give my input on price, quality, and fit! As for the promised giveaways and other items for participating, we shall see.

Banana Republic. Since the Banana Republic store closed down at The Parks Mall in Arlington a few years ago due to the fact that a BR outlet store opened at the near by Grand Prairie Premium Outlets, I visit the Northpark store often. I always head straight to the clearance section to find blouses, dresses and blazers to wear at work and church. Why? The regular priced items are just too high! An aquatance works at the store and always sends me the friends and family email where you can buy 5 items at 50% off which I actually used this summer. I saved a little bit more when I put the purchase on my new Banana Republic card. The last time I purchased pants at Banana Republic was about two years ago at a friends and family event. I don’t wear them as they are too big for me now. But proper fit has been an issue when buying pants at BR. The retailer definitely needs to work on sizing, especially for those of us who have curvy figures.

I think consumers want high quality at reasonable prices.  I want to be able to walk out of a store where I’ve spent $150 or $200 with more than four or five items! I’m also looking for excellent fit for my figure! This back to school season I shopped at Ross and Marshall’s. For about $150 at Ross I purchased two pairs of jeans, two wraps, and three blouses. I’ll be on the look out for sales and bargains at the women’s stores. However, I will definitely visit stores like Ross and Marshall’s for my fall and winter clothing needs.

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