Sales of fashion accessories rose 17% in the first quarter, reports NPD, with sales of women's accessories gaining 20%. Handbag sales were especially strong, with dollar volume up 31% compared to the
first quarter of the prior year. And sales of handbags with an average price of $100 were up 46%, evidence that women are tiptoeing back toward higher-end products.
The entire accessories
category fell 10% in 2009, and the Port Washington, N.Y.-based market research company says the strong first quarter indicates "that consumers are selectively reaching back into the fashion
accessories business to begin their return to spending." --Sarah Mahoney