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Apparel has simply lost its appeal. And there doesn’t seem to be a savior in sight. As a result, more and more apparel companies—from big-name department stores to trendy online startups— are folding . Average annual U.S. consumer spending by category Sources: 2016 Consumer Expenditures Survey, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics The ingredients for this demise have been brewing for decades. In 1977, clothing accounted for 6.2 percent of U.S. household spending, according to government statistics. Four decades later, it’s plummeted to half that. Sources: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Wells Fargo Securities Apparel is being displaced by travel, eating out and activities—what’s routinely lumped together as “experiences”—which have grown to 18 percent of purchases.
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