BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- There's perhaps no better example of America's consumer culture than the apparel business. Fueled by discretionary spending, apparel stocks rallied hard just a few years ago as free-flowing credit spurred new high-priced clothing purchases, and sales dollars poured into companies' wide profit margins.
Under Armour ( UA - Get Report) has been a darling of the apparel industry for the last few years, with shares have rallying more than 74% since their 2005 IPO -- despite the major pullback the stock experienced in 2008.
While Gildan Activewear ( GIL - Get Report) doesn't benefit from the same innovation (or high margin performance gear) that Under Armour does, this T-shirt and sweatshirt manufacturer should have strong sales to look forward to. The company has a lucrative business manufacturing private-label clothing for major big-box brands like Wal-Mart ( WMT) and Target ( TGT) -- a sales channel that competitors would kill for.
Continuing the trend of sports apparel is Columbia Sportswear ( COLM - Get Report), a Portland, Ore.-based outdoor apparel company that manufactures and markets a handful of well-known brands (including namesake Columbia).
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