Despite our economy being in what is being called the "Great Recession," and despite retailers' complaints that shoppers still aren't buying like they used to, fashion retailers are not doing that badly.
Of those chains in the top ten of the Retailer Health Ratings as ranked by Consensus Advisors, six were sellers of fashion merchandise.
Aeropostale, Urban Outfitters, Coach, Buckle, Guess, and Lululemon Athletica were all in the top ten. What's more, the remaining four – Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart, CVS, and the healthiest retailer of all, Amazon.com – all have fashion components to their businesses.
These companies were looked at over a five-year period in the following areas: healthy growth, asset utilization, pricing power, and balance-sheet strength.
In addition, Consensus Advisors broke out winners in 20 different retail categories. Not unexpectedly, Lululemon Athletica was at the top of the athletic category, Coach topped luxury jewelry and accessories, Urban Outfitters topped women's apparel, and Aeropostale topped the youth apparel category.
"They're doing everything right," said Michael O'Hara, CEO of Consensus Advisors, on a conference call Tuesday afternoon. "They had two billion in sales and have no debt."
Others category toppers include Kohl's in broad-line apparel, Ross Stores in discount apparel, DSW in footwear, and Jos. A. Bank in men's apparel, "though it's one-third the size of Men's Wearhouse," its closest competitor, O'Hara said.
Speaking of retail news, despite rumors, Coach will NOT be sold at JCPenney.