Blog: Leonie BarrieSycamore's union with Jones Group ends speculation

Leonie Barrie | 23 December 2013

Months of speculation over a buyout of The Jones Group came to an end last week when it was confirmed the US clothing and footwear company's new owner will be private equity firm Sycamore Partners.

Jones, which owns brands including Nine West, Anne Klein and Stuart Weitzman, is changing hands in a deal worth US$2.2bn.

Sycamore Partners is no stranger to the industry, owning teen apparel retailer Hot Topic as well as stakes in Aéropostale and The Talbots - and its links with the sector may be why the union with Jones has been well-received.

But Bangladesh's garment makers are warning they could face a drought of summer 2014 orders as western retailers begin diverting business to India, Indonesia and Vietnam after recent political violence and a physical attack on Spanish buyers.

That said, Chinese company Asia Spinning and Textile Mills Limited is investing $22m in setting up a new spinning and textile facility in the country.

Likewise, the sale of Frontier Spinning Mills, the second-largest cotton spinner in the US, to private equity firm American Securities is the latest in a line of recent investments in the US cotton yarn industry. Interest is being spurred by its low-cost and reliable power supplies, easy access to ports and, of course, close proximity to high-quality raw cotton.

But cotton could become more expensive in China from the beginning of next year after the government said it plans to introduce adjustments to the way it calculates tax applied to imported cotton over-and-above its mandatory WTO-approved import quota.

And with Trade Facilitation emerging as the new industry buzzword, the potential of the WTO's Bali Package to enhance clothing supply chains should encourage the industry to push for fast implementation.

Meanwhile, new research by environmental campaigners claims children's garments made in two of China's largest manufacturing bases contain toxic chemicals that pose health risks. Tests by independent laboratories on 85 children's garments detected the hormone disrupter NPE in more than half of them.

And in a fitting end to the year, we take a look at the top stories on just-style in 2013. Not surprisingly events were dominated by tragedies in Bangladesh - and the resulting efforts to raise safety standards in garment factories - but other issues also make for an insightful overview of what topped the apparel industry's agenda during the year.

As this will be our final newsletter of 2013, the team here at would like to wish all our readers a very happy Christmas and New Year. We have also created a short video greetings card, which can be viewed by clicking here, to put you in festive mood. We'll be back again in 2014.


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