Blog: Leonie BarrieInnovation the name of the game

Leonie Barrie | 25 March 2014

Innovation seems to be the name of the game for two projects seeking new solutions for the apparel and textile sectors.  

Leading Sri Lankan exporter Brandix Group has launched a US$1m 'Disrupt Unlimited' venture intended to fast-track the country into an industry innovation hub over the next three years.

While game-changers with the potential to transform the textile sector and a focus on sustainability are being sought as part of a new challenge backed by companies including Nike and Ikea.

For Hong Kong-based sourcing giant Li & Fung, last week saw the unveiling of further details of the company's new strategy and next three-year plan.

Covering the period from 2014 to 2016, the move includes a restructuring that will create a new Global Brands Group overseeing the company's brands and licensing business, and potentially to be spun off as a separate listed business.

The announcement came as the company reported full-year profit up 21% in 2013, well above market expectations and built on the successful turnaround of its LF USA division.

Meanwhile, an upbeat Hanesbrands expects sales to break through the $5bn barrier for the first time this year, with momentum boosted by its Innovate-to-Elevate strategy. Focusing on value-added, higher-priced and higher-margin items, at its heart is a low-cost supply chain that the apparel maker sees as its "secret sauce."

The strategy is also expected to help unleash the full potential of Maidenform, where 200 people are currently working across 53 projects to integrate the two businesses.

UK fashion retailer Next Plc is also on an upward trajectory, with a "dazzling" full-year in which profit surged 16.9%. The group's focus on giving customers the clothes they want, where they want them is likely to be enhanced even further by its move to a four-season buying cycle.

But while higher revenues, margin expansion and a lower tax rate helped boost third-quarter earnings for sporting goods giant Nike, the company said it expects foreign-exchange headwinds to drag significantly on earnings growth into fiscal 2015.

There are also signs that the 'Made in the UK' movement is gaining a bit more momentum, after upscale fashion brand Jaeger told just-style it has created a dedicated team to ramp up its domestic sourcing.

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