Textile and apparel imports into the US rose 6.7% in December as retailers ramped up deliveries for the all-important holiday season.

Official figures released on Friday (8 February) by the Department of Commerce's Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA), showed total textile and apparel imports climbed to 4.04bn square metre equivalents (SME) during the month, compared with a year earlier.

Gains were seen in both textiles and apparel, with total textile imports up 2.08% to 2.25bn SME.

In terms of apparel, total imports during the month saw a year-on-year increase of 13.23% to 1.785bn SME - although this was below the 1.796bn SME imported in November.

When it comes to specific sources China is by far and away the top textile and apparel supplier to the US, accounting for more than six times the imports of its closest rival Vietnam.

Year-on-year growth in December saw total imports from China rise 4.50% to 1.88bn SME, followed by Vietnam (+16.15% to 274m SME), India (+2.65% to 238m SME), Pakistan (-6.99% to 164m SME), Mexico (-4.71% to 157m SME), Bangladesh (+14.82% to 110m SME), Indonesia (+11.24% to 137m SME), South Korea (-5.52% to 97m SME), Canada (-14.40% to 73m SME) and Honduras (+17.87% to 95m SME).

In terms of apparel sources, double-digit gains were seen by seven of the top ten supply countries, with just Mexico (-6.8% to 59m SME) and Pakistan (-6.45% to 37m SME) posting declines during the month.

China's apparel shipments to the US rose 11.67% year-on-year in December to 729m SME, followed by Vietnam (+27.99% to 174m SME), Bangladesh (+13.41% to 99m SME), Indonesia (+10.39% to 100m SME), Honduras (+17.47% to 92m SME), Cambodia (+6.06% to 80m SME), India (+11.43% to 54m SME), El Salvador (+18.50% to 68m SME).

For 2012 as a whole, imports edged up 0.7% to $54.0bn SME - with textile imports edging up 1.8% to 30.4bn SME but apparel imports slipping 0.8% to 23.7bn SME.