Fashion and Retail Predictions for 2009

1. Michelle Obama will redefine fashion and the role of African American women (and moms) in fashion and in the media. She’s already inspired instant sell outs, cover stories, and probably helped saved J.Crew’s 4th quarter. Along with her husband, Mrs. Obama has inspired the recent collections of several TOP designers, including the use of more models of color.  First Lady Michelle Obama will continue to have a major impact on fashion and what (and who is) considered fashionable.

2. Wal-mart will be the top store to watch as it will be the only store to successful address the challenges facing middle (and coastal) American families. This isn’t to say that other stores can’t do the same, Target could if they focused less on being “cool” and more on being “cool AND useful”, but right now Wal-Mart is the only major mass market store which does not have to make fundamental changes in order to accomplish this goal.

3. The Bon-Ton, Kmart, Sears, JC Penneys, and several sports apparel stores (Champs, Footlocker, etc) will all close or face bankruptcy. All of these stores, with the exception of K-Mart, depend on a mall environment to stay alive and the mall, as we know it, is dead. K-Mart has been dead for a while, so at this point we’re just waiting for the funeral.

4. Big Lots, Salvation Army, Value City, Costco, Sams Club will all be hot stores in 2009. Costco will be VERY hot in 2009 and shoppers will find creative ways to get the most out of their membership, including membership co-ops.

5. Moms will be king. The marketing focus of several top brands will shift from the youth market to hip moms as more businesses realize that moms are the ultimate influencers, affecting the style and consumer habits of their kids, husbands/partners, and friends.

6. Lipstick, at home hair coloring systems, and nail color will be the big beauty sellers in 2009. These are quick, easy, and relatively inexpensive ways for people to change their personal style.

7. The mall will die. Malls, as we know it, will be dead and most will turn into outlet mall like structures (ex: the Bergen Mall in Northern New Jersey)- featuring the outlets of top retail brands. Even Saks Fifth Avenue, who for years have maintained a rigid distinction between its high-end stores and its outlet stores by referring to the later as “Off Fifth- Saks Fifth Avenue Outlets”, changed the name of their outlets to the equally cumbersome Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth.

8. Gray, black, brown, red, and dark blue will continue to be the colors to watch as consumers look for easy to wear colors.

9. Easy to care for fabrics will reign supreme as shoppers look for items that are machine washable, thus saving a ton of money on dry cleaning.

10. More designers will skip their bridge lines and head directly for mass market/lower priced lines. Rumors have already started about budget lines by Donna Karan (Macys?).

Sponsored Content


  1. says


    @texanbargain hunter: I think Tj Maxx and Marshalls will do superwell this year as they are able to scoop up the overstock of alot of the big department stores

    @cheapchica: My thoughts behind Jc Penney is that is so based upon the mall structure (few JC Penney’s exist outside the mall) that it will probably not survive if malls do not survival.

  2. Cheap Chica says


    I have to agree about K-mart probably going bankrupt.  Target and Walmart pretty much shut them down.  But JC Penney?  I thought they were doing okay.  I think they will stay alive because they have great deals, and in this rough economy, that’s what people are looking for right now, a great deal.

  3. Target-Addict says


    TBF, outside of a small mention of The Salvation Army in #4, I’m really surprised you didn’t list “consignment” or thrift shopping as a major trend.  I think that as money gets tighter, more and more folks will turn to thrift and consignment stores, both to seek out bargains AND to make some cash by selling their castoffs.

  4. Target-Addict says


    TBF, I’m also wondering (and please give me your thoughts) whether brands that started out as either strictly mail-order (like Aerosoles) or sold at department stores (like Free People) will end up shuttering their retail stores?  I always thought it was odd that these and other niche brands opened their own storefronts when they could easily be purchased at a slew of other places.

  5. ellyabillion says


    Great predictions, and I think they’re spot-on. I really admire Michelle Obama, and I think she’ll do a lot for moms.

  6. TexanBargainHunter says


    Really great post.  I am eagerly awaiting the new Norma Kamali stuff at Wal Du Mart. 

    Any predictions for TJ Maxx and Marshalls?

  7. says


    @Target-Addict- You are right about thrifting..I had thrift store shopping as a trend for 2008 (it is now a reality). Consignment shopping is not always a bargain- many consignment shops charge as much as department stores.

    The storefronts were originally created to allow the brands to establish pricing controls- many had issues with the rate and price at which department stores were putting their stock on sale- as well as a way to retain more of the profit.

    I do think aerosoles and other mid priced storefronts may have a problem surviving cause they are also so mall dependent, however I’ve always wondered about aerosoles pricing policy because the initial prices are VERY high for the quality of product and within 2 weeks the prices usually drop to at least 50% less.

  8. Shopsista says


    Honey, just by your predictions alone, I think I’ll purchase some Target, Walmart and Costco stock! 

    Cause I that’s where I have been shopping!  LOL!

  9. Jenn_theglamourgirl says


    I will be quite saddened if JCPenney’s and Sears go out of business!  I just got a drill with an extended replacement.  I find some of my more unique pieces of jewelry at Penney’s (I always get complements on them).  I agree that discount stores will gain popularity.  As money gets tighter, shoppers will be more likely to dig through bins.  As for our new first lady, I am already impressed.  She is a hands on mom and wife AND wonderfully stylish!

  10. says


    @Jenn_theglamourgirl _ I’ve gotten great stuff from both Penneys and Sears, but they both are hanging on by a thin thread. Sears is facing competition from all directions. Before Wal-Mart, Sears used to be the only shop in many small communities. In fact, I remember visiting my great Aunt Maxine as a child, who worked at a Sears in Salina, KS. It was like the only shop in town, being a jazzy lady, she really could hook up some outfits from the store

  11. cmcgonigle says


    I have to disagree with the comment about Wal-mart, most women I know would much rather shop at Target before Wal-mart. I refuse to shop there, the whole experience is just so depressing. Their staff is rude and clueless, the quality of their products is cheap, well you get what you pay for right?, and don’t get me started on the customers. Target is much more pleasant, clean and their staff actually speaks English and is helpful and most important knowledgeable of their products. Going to Wal-mart is like stepping into some kind of twilight zone. I’d much rather spend a couple of extra cents at Target before putting a foot into a Wal-mart.

  12. TexanBargainHunter says


    The quality of the Wal-Mart depends on the area and the upkeep of the store.  They are not consistent, so I will agree that some of them are pretty scary.  However, if you step into a new Wal-mart you may be pleasantly surprised.  I think Target does a better job of maintaining a quality business across the country.

  13. ellyabillion says


    I too am sad about the JCPenney prediction. I just discovered that it has a GREAT petite department, which is very difficult to find, especially at reasonable prices.

    I haven’t set foot in a Wal-Mart for at least 5 years. I decided to stop shopping there because I disagree with how they treat their workers (and how they basically force their suppliers to use near-slave-labor in China and other countries). Besides, Target is cooler. :)

  14. lulu2 says


    Shopsista – a girl after my own heart !!! But I have to warn you….I do a lot of homework on stocks and I am picky. I LOVE Target and have been following it for years in the hopes of picking up the stock. But Target has an enormous amount due them through their credit cards. And I read not too long ago that the top two cards being defaulted on are Capital One and the Target card. This makes menervous. Everything about them is great and they bring in tons of sales, but a lot of the money hasn’t been paid to them. I am afraid that as the economy sours further, there will be even more defaults or people will just stop buying if they are maxed out and can no longer charge on the Target card.
    So sista, tread carefully !!!!

  15. Target-Addict says


    I’m with you, cmcgonigle.  One of the reasons why I love Target so much (and blog about it) is because Target consistently DELIGHTS me when I shop there.  For instance: they just started their “Home Event” this week, and I swear, I felt like I was walking through Pottery Barn!  The merchandise was that pretty, and so well presented, and at half the price Pottery Barn stuff.  And Walmart?— I’m sorry, but that place is just a MESS.

  16. Target-Addict says


    Re: prediction #3, add Filene’s Basement to the list.  While they’re not going bankrupt (yet) they are closing 11 locations.

  17. prissyangel5 says


    I honestly think your predictions are wrong.  I think Michelle’s clothes are ugly and boring.  I work in a mall and we are doing great so to say that malls are going to be dead is crap.  And honestly everyone needs to chill out and stop letting the media and politicians scare you!

  18. jarsofc555 says


    I agree with a lot of your predictions, especially those having to do with the mall and JCPenney. Every time I have visited my local mall recently, it’s been packed with shoppers.  JCPenney always seems to be busy and there are always long lines when checking out.  Also, I don’t think Sears could go under any time soon, considering their appliance/hardware department.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *