Apparel Sellers’ Fashion Emergency Must Be Handled With Care

To sell or not to sell: That is the question inventory-stuffed apparel sellers find themselves asking lately.

Abercrombie & Fitch which reported earnings last Thursday, said inventory rose 70% in its quarter ended July 30 compared with a year earlier. Victoria’s Secret which also reported Thursday, saw merchandise levels swell 46% over the comparable period. Gap and Urban Outfitters said their inventories were up 37% and 44% in their latest quarters, respectively. The four apparel companies together are sitting on $1.7 billion more merchandise than they were a year earlier.