Blog: Leonie BarriePVH-Warnaco fit has good prospects

Leonie Barrie | 5 November 2012

In a move that is set to make PVH one of the world's largest and most profitable apparel companies, the clothing maker last week announced plans to buy The Warnaco Group in a $2.9bn deal.

As well as bringing control of the Calvin Klein underwear, jeans and sportswear lines under one roof, the acquisition also sets the stage for major expansion - not only across product categories, but also new geographies and distribution channels. In particular, top line growth is seen on the back of Warnaco's strong presence in Asia and Latin America.

US retailers have yet to weigh up the full impact of Hurricane Sandy, which hit the US East coast early last week. Despite estimates suggesting they were forced to close up to 10% of their stores as the Superstorm swept through, growth in US sales held up in October according to monthly figures. But analysts continue to weigh up the storm's longer-term impact on apparel and footwear sales.

Swedish fashion retailer H&M has hit back at accusations that it fails to pay adequate wages to workers in Cambodian factories - and says the situation would be a lot worse if it didn't source from the country. While Fast fashion retailer Forever 21 is being investigated by the US Department of Labor (DoL) for "significant" labour law violations among its suppliers in Southern California.

And environmental campaign group Greenpeace is stepping up efforts to clean up the clothing supply chain by calling on outdoor apparel firms to ban PFCs from production after tests found the chemicals in a number of leading brands. Separately, the latest report from brands who have committed to a toxic-free future by 2020 says more participation is crucial if their efforts are to have a major impact.

Meanwhile, the European Union has released details of planned changes to its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) system for developing countries, which are due to come into effect from the beginning of 2014. The update will reduce the number of countries that enjoy preferential access to EU markets from 176 to 89.

However, two years after it was removed from the GSP+ scheme that allowed duty-free exports to the EU, Sri Lanka's apparel industry says it has been hurt by the loss.


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