The most read stories on just-style this week include a look at issues facing the apparel industry this year, JC Penney scaling back the rollout of its RFID technology, and opportunities for textile and clothing firms following the creation of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015. 

Outlook 2013: Apparel industry opportunities
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.

Outlook 2013: Apparel industry challenges
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. 

US: JC Penney scales back RFID rollout
US department store retailer JC Penney has confirmed to just-style that it has scaled back its RFID ambitions. 

Apparel industry integration key for ASEAN growth
The creation of a new harmonised customs system between the ten countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) offers opportunities for the region's clothing and textile industry - but only through strategic partnerships and better vertical integration. 

Outlook 2013: Other issues to watch
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).