Blog: Leonie BarrieUS retailers have a bumpy ride in June

Leonie Barrie | 9 July 2012

A number of US apparel retailers last week reported worse-than-expected June sales after experiencing rocky demand across the month. For many, results were inconsistent, with gains around Father's Day followed by weakening sales as bad weather hit later in the month. With the key back-to-school shopping season about to begin, it now remains to be seen whether shoppers will postpone their spending or put it off altogether.

Cooler weather also dampened demand for summer clothing at Japan's Fast Retailing, owner of the Uniqlo casual wear brand, forcing it to cut its full-year profit outlook. Sales at the Uniqlo Japan division, its biggest unit, fell 1%. Separately, the retailer also confirmed it is considering working with a partner to set up a garment production unit in Myanmar.

From a near standing start less than two years ago, Nicaragua's potential as a major footwear supplier to the US and Europe is also attracting interest from brands and retailers including Geox, Clarks, Dillard's and Brown Shoe Company. Like their apparel counterparts, footwear firms are re-evaluating their sourcing strategies in the face of rising costs, particularly in China - which is where Nicaragua is hoping to step in.

From catwalk to consumers, fast fashion companies are increasing their speed to market in response to demand for up-to-the-minute styles and trends at relatively low prices. In this month's management briefing, just-style looks at the impact this is having on manufacturing and supply chains, retail strategies, global trends and the bottom line.

The cost of labour is just one element that needs to be taken into account when it comes to evaluating supplier factories and countries. But cost doesn't necessarily correlate with market share.


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