Fashion companies are boosting their spending — big time — but it’s not because they’re feeling bullish about the consumer or the competitive landscape.
If anything, the industry’s biggest companies are spending out of nervousness, plowing money into the store base, but also e-commerce and omnichannel capabilities as they try to keep up with each other and an ever-more digitally savvy shopper.
A WWD study of the annual reports of 15 top U.S. fashion companies and retailers found that the group plans to boost their capital expenditures this year by as much as $1.9 billion, a 9.3 percent increase. (Factoring out the giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which accounts for more than half of all the overall expenditures, the rest of the group plans to increase their spending by as much as $1.2 billion, or 14.1 percent.)
A lot of that cash is going toward maintenance items, store refurbishments and some…
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