Apparel margin expectations are in the sixties for the national retailers. Margin in this instance means gross margin. Their net is not so freely discussed.
Nordstrom is a high end clothing retailer, and the vast majority of its stuff is made in China or other low-cost labor locales. Edgar filings show a gross profit margin of 31% for 1994 vs 35% for 2012. I'd wager a big part of the margin difference comes from improved purchasing power as the company's annual revenues went from $3.6b to $11.8b, its store count went from 57 to 242 and its geographical coverage went from 10 to 31 states in the ~ 20 year interval.
I suspect some of the margin difference over the years comes from retail consolidation, as regional chains become national chains, and regional chains or individual stores that can't compete go out of business or are bought out by the nationals. Fewer competitors means more pricing power. It doesn't mean that prices go up, but they might go down less in the absence of competition that went belly-up. Everybody has the same access to overseas sources of labor, but fewer competitors generally means better pricing from the seller's point of view.