Outlook 2013: Apparel industry issues to watch
For this year's annual briefing on apparel industry issues to watch in the year ahead, just-style asked leading executives for their feedback on the challenges and opportunities likely to emerge in 2013. Their insight provides a fascinating overview of the state of the sector today.
Uncertainty is perhaps the biggest challenge facing the apparel industry in 2013. The economic situation in Europe and the US, a combination of rising production costs and flat prices, the pressure to improve working conditions, a lack of new production centres and low volume growth in fashion all add up to a worrying year.
Apparel industry executives canvassed by just-style for this year's annual management briefing on issues to watch in the year ahead are cautiously optimistic there will be some improvement in the business environment in 2013.
Generally, 2013 is seen as being another challenging year for the apparel industry – although there is cautious optimism for an improved business environment. Issues such as compliance, sustainability and product safety are likely to come to the fore, and keep a close eye on trade talks to expand duty-free opportunities such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Opportunities the apparel industry should focus on this year include developing strategic relationships to improve flexibility across the supply chain; a focus on adding value through design, innovation and branding to protect margins; and the use of technology to integrate the multichannel experience.
What should apparel firms have learnt from the upheaval of the past couple of years - and what should they be doing now if they want to remain competitive into the future? They need to remain nimble enough to respond to changing buying patterns, develop strong partnerships across the supply chain, and focus on a sourcing portfolio that balances costs and risks.
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