Blog: A mixed bag for retailers in January
Leonie Barrie | 6 February 2012
For many retailers January is the quietest month of the year as shoppers tighten their belts after Christmas and stores try to clear unsold inventories. But post-holiday discounts helped many US retailers lift their sales in January, according to monthly figures released last week.
Overall results, however, were mixed as consumers continued to shop cautiously amid the struggling economy. And for apparel retailers there was the added challenge of warm weather curbing sales of winter coats, boots and other winter basics, as well as tougher year-ago comparisons.
Groups representing Cambodian garment workers are this week hoping to get a fair wage commitment from retailers and brands who source from the country. A two-day "people's tribunal" is taking place in Phnom Penh to investigate factory pay and conditions - and follows a spate of mass faintings in the sector, as well as a series of strikes. It hopes to draw attention to the concerns of those employed in the garment sector.
The World Trade Organization, meanwhile, has approved a request from the European Union to temporarily lift duties on 75 products from Pakistan - the majority of which are textiles, apparel, and footwear. The two-year tariff waiver is intended to help the country recover from massive floods in 2010, and measures will be in effect until 31 December 2013.
Domestic market expansion, new materials development and the transfer of production bases are all priorities under the 12th five-year plan for the domestic textile industry, released by mainland China's ministry of industry and information technology. The government predicts the export value of all textile products will reach US$300m by the end of 2015, with an annual growth of 7.5% from 2011.
Slower global economic growth and ample supplies could place downward pressure on cotton prices, after the International Cotton Advisory Board (ICAC) cut its global demand estimates for the fibre. The latest forecast released this week by the inter-governmental group sees world cotton demand for the 2012-13 season down by more than 510,000 tonnes from earlier forecasts.
And for this year's annual management 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 2012. Their insight provides a fascinating overview of the state of the sector today. Global economic uncertainty, swings in commodity prices, labour shortages and rising costs, especially in China, all add up to a worrying year. But e-commerce and growing spending power in emerging markets, as well as faster cycle times and stronger relationships across the supply chain, might offer some respite in these volatile times.
Some of just-style’s more eagle-eyed readers might have noticed a small change to the menu bar on the homepage: the addition of the word re:source. Yes it might be a small change – but it marks the co...
Over the past week just-style has continued to try to unravel the potential ramifications of Donald Trump’s election as the next president of the United States....
One event dominated the international airwaves last week, and on just-style too we took a closer look at the surprise election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States....
As the Brexit roller-coaster continues to twist and turn, and the US presidential election campaign nears its unpredictable and possibly protectionist end, there's no doubt these events – and the perc...
- Steps to piloting living wage in garment factories
- How to ensure sustainability is more than a slogan
- US apparel retailers' November 2016 sales roundup
- Trump blows the case for Brexit out of the water
- Why do modern robotics elude sportswear makers?
- Esquel efficiency drive continues to boost brands
- Taiwan textile maker investing in first US plant
- US Q3 in brief – Sears, Vince Holding, Genesco
- Myanmar garment industry "lacking labour rights"
- Outdoor apparel sector set for double-digit growth