Blog: Leonie BarrieA colourful start for Gap

Leonie Barrie | 21 May 2012

One of the bright spots - quite literally - in the first three months of Gap Inc's new financial year has been the success of its spring collection, which helped lift sales by 6% and prompted CEO Glenn Murphy to say the firm now has a "small win" to celebrate.

Not only was revenue at stores open at least a year up 4%, but gains of 5% were seen at both the Gap and Banana Republic units, while Old Navy rose 4% during the three months to 28 April. Net sales rose 6% to $3.5bn - and the company raised its guidance for the year.

But profit in the quarter was flat with last year at $233m thanks to higher marketing and operating costs, and international comparable sales fell 4%.

But it wasn't such a good week for footwear firm Skechers USA, which is to pay $50m to settle "unfounded" advertising claims that its toning shoes would help wearers improve their fitness and lose weight. The agreement comes eight months after sportswear maker Reebok International also said it would pay $25m in customer refunds for making similar claims about its toning footwear.

In other news, official data showed that sales at US clothing stores softened in April, making this one of the weakest sectors during the month. However, the results come after retailers saw sales brought forward to February and March on the back of unseasonably warm weather, an earlier Easter holiday and rising consumer confidence.

Other data showed that US imports of apparel and textiles were up 1.7% by volume in March. But while textile imports were up 7% to 2.35bn SME, apparel imports fell 4.9% to 1.66bn SME. The declines were led by the largest supply country, China, which saw its total figure fall by 3.7%.

While China's textile and garment export growth in the first quarter of this year has slowed from the double-digit figures posted in 2011 - plans are also afoot to double textile output by 2020.

One of the hot conversation topics at the recent Texprocess Americas technology show in Atlanta was the prospect of some sewing operations returning to the western hemisphere. But while suggestions that reshoring, or bringing back production jobs lost to China, could be nothing more than a symbolic gesture, there is still a need for businesses in developed countries to provide a range of sewing services.


Asia facing up to increased competition

Increasing competition for garment sourcing contracts is seeing China not only being challenged by other countries in Asia, but by sub-Saharan African and even Russian suppliers too. And it is pushing...


Cambodia raises garment worker wages

The monthly minimum wage for workers in Cambodia's textile, garment and footwear sector is set to rise to $153 from January next year, following a vote on the issue last week. The increase marks a ris...


Sportswear initiatives start to take shape

The results of two highly-anticipated initiatives in the sportswear sphere were revealed last week: the launch of Under Armour’s new UAS lifestyle brand and the first pair of running shoes created at ...


Hanjin Shipping collapse triggers fear of West Coast port repeat

The recent bankruptcy of South Korea's Hanjin Shipping, the world's seventh-largest container shipper, at the end of August, has left billions of dollars worth of merchandise in limbo, leaving the fal...

just-style homepage

Forgot your password?