Blog: Retailers weather the storm
Leonie Barrie | 20 April 2009
The impact that unpredictable and out-of-control factors such as the weather can have on apparel demand was hammered home last week when details of March retail sales in the UK and US were reported.
Here in the UK, warmer weather boosted sales of clothing and footwear, with the sector for once bucking an overall 1.2% drop in like-for-like sales. In the US, meanwhile, a chilly start to spring meant clothing and footwear sales were down 8.7% on March last year, as shoppers stayed away and postponed their spring wardrobe updates. The late timing of Easter also had a part to play in holding back demand – but should give a much-needed boost to April’s performance.
UK: March retail sales down despite clothing growth
US: March retail sales slump 3.7%
With a rebound in the softgoods sector not expected until 2010, thousands of retail outlets across the US are likely to shut their doors this year as companies rationalise their store portfolios in the teeth of the worst recession since the Second World War. But is this a necessary correction, or an overreaction? And how will the retail landscape look once "normality" returns?
COMMENT: US retail faces a leaner future
In an attempt to deal with the global economic crisis, countries around the world have introduced a raft of stimulus packages – which would seem to support mounting claims of protectionism in the clothing and textile industry. But not according to a new survey, which found the world's leading textile and garment importers have abolished more barriers to trade in the past six months than ever before.
And it seems the US Treasury department agrees. It has refrained from accusing China of illegally manipulating its currency – much to the annoyance of textile trade groups who argue an artificially weak yuan disadvantages US manufacturers.
GLOBAL: Garment protectionism claims no more than a myth
US: Textile group “disappointed” at Chinese currency stance
In just under a week's time the world's fourth largest trade fair venue will open its doors to IMB 2009. The event is a firm calendar appointment for many professionals in the apparel and textile sector who are looking for the latest in apparel and textile technology and, to help visitors find their way around, just-style has published previews of some of the products on show.
PLM at IMB - who, what, where, when
In other news this week, Japanese casual clothing retailer Uniqlo is aiming to grow its online sales in China after signing a strategic partnership deal with e-commerce provider Taobao. Levi Strauss blamed the economic downturn, retail bankruptcies and a weak performance by the Dockers brand after its first quarter profit halved to US$48m. And struggling US women’s wear retailer Talbots is nearing a global sourcing deal with Li & Fung as fourth quarter losses spiralled to US$136.3m.
CHINA: Uniqlo in online tie-up with Taobao
US: Retail weakness halves Levi Strauss Q1 profit
US: Talbots reviews sourcing as Q4 losses spiral
Over the past month, Donald Trump and his team failed to offer any clear plan to ensure Americans would "Buy American, Hire American" - while the British government's attempts to clarify the specifics...
The Bangladesh government was forced to respond late last week to pressure over its crackdown on labour activists after a number of global brands and retailers, including H&M and Inditex announced pla...
Fresh from their disappointment at seeing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal abandoned last month with an executive order by President Donald Trump, the US apparel and footwear sector...
With the ultimate aim of ensuring all the cotton in its products is sourced sustainably, value clothing retailer Primark is adamant that having a business model focused on offering the lowest prices o...
- Digitalisation and data to disrupt supply chains
- EU eyes mandatory due diligence for apparel supply
- Unlocks for the future fashion sourcing landscape
- What TTIP might mean for US, EU textiles & apparel
- Geo-political uncertainty and how to survive it
- Li & Fung forms supply chain partnership with PVH
- US Q4 in brief – G-III Apparel, Finish Line
- Big data to help US firms improve clothing fit
- Levi Strauss and ILO probe Cambodia factory death
- Sustainable fashion app to help shopping decisions
- Central and East Europe Report Package
- Central America strategic sourcing review - a focus on Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras
- Southeast Asia strategic sourcing review – a focus on Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar
- REPORT BUNDLE: Africa-Med, Southeast Asia and Central America strategic sourcing pack
- Outdoor performance apparel 2016: A broader perspective