Just when the apparel retailers were struggling with hike in cotton prices, the U.S. economy started showing signs of weakness. This resulted in customer becoming very choosy, which echoed through a decline in comps across the board. The promotions which started as an alternative to woo customers, resulted in excessively fierce competition in the domestic market, with each retailer outsmarting the others with bigger promotions. The result: Teen apparel retailers which were already wincing with high input costs were left with lesser Average Unit Retail (AUR) too, resulting in further dent into their margins. The market remains full of promotional activity and we expect the status quo to remain the same unless the economy recovers fully. Though the U.S. economy is showing the signs of recovery, the process has been painfully slow, which may remain a troublesome issue for teen retailers in 2012.