With the continued upheaval in the retail environment, workwear is among the few thriving apparel segments, projected to grow to $41 billion by 20241. Estimated at $33.1 billion2 today, this sector provides apparel and accessories to a wide range of professionals, including construction workers, nurses, firefighters, and cafeteria workers. Investors have recognized the opportunity in the segment, which has resulted in substantially higher M&A activity compared to the rest of the apparel industry as well as higher valuations for uniform and workwear companies in the public markets compared to basic apparel companies. With competition and volatility continuing to increase in the apparel and retail landscape, private equity firms and strategics are being very selective towards the apparel targets they decide to pursue. In today’s environment, there is heightened interest for brands that have a purpose-driven/functional component or a unique passionate consumer following.
While capturing the attention and dollars of the Millennial generation may be a moving target for many fashion apparel brands, uniform and workwear providers serve a growing, stable and recurring market. The category is largely resistant to trends and consumer preferences, decreasing the risk for potential acquirers. This decreased risk, as well as the reliability and longevity of the markets they serve, make uniform and workwear companies particularly attractive assets for both strategic and financial investors. These combined factors have resulted in an optimistic outlook for the uniform and workwear sector.
At Intrepid, our approach is to start building relationships with prospective clients early on in their business life cycle. As you evaluate your own opportunities, please feel free to call us at 310.478.9000 for more pointed insight.