Blog: Leonie BarriePromising outlook for holiday months

Leonie Barrie | 22 October 2012

More figures released last week show retailers on both sides of the Atlantic benefited from strong demand for clothing and footwear in September.

Over in the US, Commerce Department data sets a promising outlook for the critical holiday months ahead, with higher spending on clothing and back-to-school merchandise helping to lift US retail sales by 1.1% during the month - a rise of 5.4% year-on-year.

Retail sales in the UK were up 2.5% by volume and 3.2% by value in September, with the year-on-year increase driven by a recovery in clothing, textiles and footwear.

Fashion retail giant Gap has unveiled a new global structure designed to reflect the company's increasingly international footprint and to drive long-term growth. The firm is bringing together its North American, International, Online, Outlet and Franchise divisions under a single global executive for each brand from the start of fiscal 2013 - with a number of new roles for its management team.

The Mexican government has launched an attack at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Chinese industrial policy regarding the textile and clothing sector - claiming almost all Beijing's support for the industry is illegal. Mexico City has requested formal consultations with China, which is the first stage of an official disputes case. But trade groups in other countries differ in their response to the Mexican initiative.

The threat of new risks to production in previously stable garment-making environments is the focus of this month's Flanarant on just-style. Labour disruptions, inflation, political unrest, mass illness, safety infractions are among the a raft of problems seen as more important than searching for new sourcing hot-spots.

And the Chinese government's policy of supporting the country's cotton growers with minimum pricing is making its mills increasingly uncompetitive, according to industry organisation Cotton Inc. However, the policy could be a boon to other producing countries, with India and Pakistan benefiting from record Chinese imports of cotton and yarn in July and August.

Meanwhile, the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) said recent pricing trends - up in China and down internationally -could be an indication of price directions for the months ahead.


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