Blog: Is China losing its sheen?
Leonie Barrie | 12 August 2013
Data released last week showed that US apparel imports continued to climb in June - with double-digit gains in shipments from Bangladesh and Vietnam helping offset declines from China.
The figures, which coincide with retailers starting to bring more merchandise into the country ahead of the back-to-school season, show that while China remains the largest apparel supplier, its shipments were lower than a year earlier. In contrast, second-largest supplier Vietnam showed the strongest growth, followed by Bangladesh in third position.
The figures suggest there has so far been no negative impact on orders from Bangladesh following the Rana Plaza building collapse earlier this year and wider factory safety issues.
The numbers also lend weight to concerns that China is losing its sheen as the ultimate low-wage, high-growth sourcing and manufacturing destination. New research pinpoints 16 nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America as the likely pretenders to China's crown.
One of the biggest and most fundamental differences between Bangladesh and rival Cambodia is that the Cambodian government and industry are held accountable for making the necessary improvements to factory working conditions. And this will help ensure Cambodia moves up the economic ladder.
But while pressure groups are adept at focusing on social and environmental scandals linked to the clothing industry, the impact of buyer behaviour rarely gets a look-in. Yet the impact of unpredictable weather, over-geared retailers and uncertain consumers magnifies as it passes down the supply chain.
While most US apparel retailers posted same-store sale gains last month, concerns were raised that many also missed expectations in a still-challenging trading environment. However, despite a slow start to the key back-to-school season, observers expect consumers to start shopping in earnest in August.
And German sportswear brand Adidas lowered its full-year outlook and said it expects the "lacklustre" trading environment in Europe - particularly Spain and Italy - to continue to weigh on sales and profit growth.
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...
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...
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 ...
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...
- Will new Vietnam wage hinder competitiveness?
- Digitisation to drive new apparel-making models
- Under Armour Lighthouse will disrupt production
- Fashion fit for the future – strategies for speed
- How TAL Apparel is staying ahead of the game
- Marks & Spencer top for modern slavery reporting
- MAS Holdings shares commitment to sustainability
- Gap to shutter all UK Banana Republic stores
- M&S "unappealing" clothing a barrier to growth
- Bangladesh garment workers rally for higher wages
- Africa-Med strategic sourcing review – comparing East Africa, North Africa and Turkey
- REPORT BUNDLE: Africa-Med, Southeast Asia and Central America strategic sourcing pack
- Southeast Asia strategic sourcing review – a focus on Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar
- Apparel (GLOBAL) - Industry Report
- Global Sports and Fitness Wear Market 2016-2020