DNR is reporting that there is a bright spot amidst all the economic doom and gloom. Men’s apparel sales have actually been pretty good. Driven by the popularity of dressier casualwear, men’s wear sales continue to outpace women’s at retail, and they’re getting stronger as retailers approach the all-important fall selling season. In new figures released by The NPD Group last week, men’s apparel sales rose 2.1 percent to just over $57 billion for the year ended June 30, 2008. In the same time frame, women’s sales fell 3.8 percent. Boys’ wear sales were flat in the period and girls’ apparel sales fell 3.4 percent. “Men’s is growing at a faster rate than women’s,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for the Long Island–based market research group. In the last three months alone, he revealed, men’s sales are up 3.1 percent, compared to women’s, which fell 1.5 percent. “Usually what happens is that dad gets left behind in favor of mom and the kids,” he said. “But what’s happening this year is that mom is the one doing without.” Cohen attributed the uptick in men’s sales to the increasing popularity of dressier sportswear. “Men’s fashion has gotten a little dressier on the casual side, and guys are sporting better sport shirts and slacks, which is a big change in a down economy.” Good news for all our favorite labels.