Marshalls Courts Budget-Conscious Fashionistas

Marshalls wants to assert itself as the place to shop when times are—and aren’t—tough. Its inaugural seasonal report, The Edit by Marshalls, highlights that shoppers can still find quality, trendy pieces on a budget. The off-price retailer’s premiere issue also showcases its buying process and insights from its team of over 1,000 buyers.

“We’re thrilled to showcase expertise from our buyers, along with the chance to learn how they prioritize bringing value to every aspect of a shopper’s life—whether it be through high-quality fashion, beauty, home or lifestyle pieces,” Victoria Shonkoff, vice president, marketing director at Marshalls, said. “The Edit by Marshalls is overflowing with exciting intel on what shoppers are looking for and how to score that ‘good stuff’ year-round at Marshalls.”

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The retailer also surveyed 1,000 people nationwide on their shopping habits, the impact of the current state of the economy and how they’re finding sales without sacrificing quality. Marshalls heard respondents “loud and clear”: shopping habits need to change, the company said in the report. Fifty-two percent of people ranked price as their No. 1 priority when shopping for fashion. When shopping on a budget, this number jumps to 77 percent. And 71 percent of millennials said they’re limiting their impulse purchases because of current economic conditions, compared to 66 percent of Gen Z and 62 percent of Gen X. Fifty-three percent of people said they feel like they have to compromise their wants to prioritize their needs; 48 percent reported feelings of frustration when they couldn’t buy what they want.

And those frustrations may have been felt at Marshalls stores. In November 2021, parent company TJX started charging more for certain products and a year later, CEO Ernie Herrman saw an opportunity for those prices to go up again.

“We travel the globe to bring you the latest trends,” a Marshalls buyer said in the report. “Whether it’s scoping street style in London, Paris, the Hamptons, or attending fashion milestones like New York Fashion Week or other culturally relevant events, we are on the hunt for the hottest trending styles and highest quality merchandise to bring in store.”

Fifty-two percent said they associate quality with premium materials, while 46 percent associate quality with having a luxurious feeling on their skin.

“We have quality experts in every area, and their primary function is to assess quality and make sure what we are buying and shipping to stores is the best quality out there,” a Marshalls buyer said in the report. The retailer claims that quality is “the fiber” of what it does, focusing on value without compromise and paying attention to fabrics, stitching, zippers, clasps and fits. Buyers also do quality checks—from seeing how clothing moves during a workout to getting hands on with premium fabrics—looking for durability and comfort. With 21,000 vendors, Marshalls said it sources from big brands and boutiques to coveted designers and up-and-comers. This is good for the 59 percent of people who don’t associate quality clothes with an affordable price—and the 71 percent who are trying to find designer looks for less. Still, 74 percent of respondents agree that finding high-quality fashion items on a budget is challenging.

The report ended with a forecast of Marshalls’ top five summer trends, the first being “living life out loud,” focused on oversized accessories like statement sunglasses, bold and bright colors like pops of pink and tangerine, and vibrant matching sets. What’s old is new again in the “opposites attract” trend, which highlighted midcentury modern for the 21st century as well as business casual and laid-back luxury. “Outdoor oasis” looked toward warm tones for warm weather and preppy pickleball-inspired fits. Maxi dresses and statement shoes were the focus of “vacation, all I ever wanted,” while interior design, florals and natural fibers rounded out “pattern play.”

The retailer is launching The Edit by Marshalls alongside a community of 22 creators dubbed “Mbassadors,” who will share trends and merchandise from the report as well as year-round highlights online and in stores.

Last year, TJX opened 35 Marshalls stores with plans to open more this year, though two Marshalls stores closed in early 2023. The off-price retail giant’s Marmaxx (T.J. Maxx and Marshalls) division saw net sales rise 7 percent, with Marmaxx U.S. sales up to nearly $9 billion for fourth quarter of 2022.

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