No one is buying clothes anymore — here’s what they’re spending money on instead

Hayley Peterson

Retail stocks have been getting hammered this week following disappointing quarterly sales numbers from a handful of stores, including Macy’s, Gap, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, and Target.

Executives from nearly every company blamed a spending pullback in one common category for the declines: apparel.

So if consumers aren’t spending on clothes anymore, what are they buying?

People are instead buying big-ticket items, like cars, boats, and swimming pools, as well as building new homes and furnishing them, according to an analysis by Jharonne Martis, director of consumer research for Thomson Reuters.

Consumers are also spending on hotel stays and travel, she found.

To determine where people are diverting their spending money, Martis analyzed Commerce Department data and identified the highest retail performers in terms of earnings growth rates.

“When looking at the winners in terms of earnings, it’s clear there is a nesting theme,” Martis wrote.

Here are the top earnings growth rates, according to Martis’ research. (The first company listed, MarineMax, is a recreational-boat retailer).

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