MCM 100 Sneak Peak: The Top 10 Women’s Apparel Merchants

The recession has not been kind to the women’s apparel market. Some of the largest multichannel retails that sell women’s clothing have been seriously struggling in recent years.

For instance, Boston Apparel Group, which includes the Chadwick’s, Metrostyle and Casual Living brands, laid off more than 300 workers in June. Signature Styles, which includes the Spiegel, Newport News and Shape Fx brands, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on June 6. Coldwater Creek’s direct business has been dropping steadily, from $376.4 million in 2007 to $256.2 million in 2010.

But we did uncover a few bright spots in putting together the 2011 MCM 100 ranking. For one, Boston Proper—which cracked the top 100 for the first time this year— managed to increase its sales from $160.5 million to $169 million in 2010. Cataloger/retailer Chico’s saw a lift in direct revenue from $98 million in 2009 to $108.7 million in 2010.

Even Talbots, which had been reporting dwindling revenue since 2007, managed to boost direct sales from $207.7 million in 2009 to $222 million in 2010.

As part of this year’s MCM 100, we are breaking down some of the major merchandise categories. (But not all the companies in the breakdowns appear in the 100 ranking.) Here’s a sneak peak at the top women’s apparel merchants.

A few disclaimers: This top 10 includes companies that sell only women’s apparel, not merchants that also sell men’s and children’s clothing or other product lines. Merchants must have a catalog presence to be eligible for the MCM 100. Also, this list is subject to change as we finish crunching all the numbers and finalizing the 2011 rankings.

Women’s Apparel Merchants:
The Top 10

(Annual direct sales in millions)

Victoria’s Secret Direct


Coldwater Creek




Boston Apparel Group


Boston Proper


Signature Styles




J. Jill




Frederick’s of Hollywood


* estimate

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