Blog: Leonie BarrieWholesale change at Hilfiger

Leonie Barrie | 6 April 2010

Fashion group Tommy Hilfiger is to take control of its wholesale and retail distribution in China from next March as part of plans to expand its business in the country. But it says licensee Dickson Concepts (International) will continue to oversee other territories in South East Asia, including Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia.

The move comes a fortnight after a deal to sell Tommy Hilfiger to US apparel giant Phillips-Van Heusen (PVH) for US$3bn, creating one of the world's largest clothing companies.

Discount retailer Dollar General, meanwhile, is gearing up to relaunch some of its private label apparel lines as a way of driving sales growth by focusing on new, more affluent shoppers in 2010. Brands affected by the changes include the Bobbie Brooks label for women and Open Trails for men and boys, both of which will offer improved fit and fabric. "We believe the transition we are making is going from cheap to inexpensive," the company says.

The collapse of a possible takeover bid by Sports Direct has prompted outdoor retailer Blacks Leisure to refocus on fundraising to support its ongoing turnaround plan. Earlier in the week Sports Direct had hinted at a possible increase in its offer, but pulled out of talks over what it claims was a lack of information concerning the future relationship with key suppliers should the bid succeed.

Canadian clothing company Gildan Activewear has invested US$15m in a manufacturing facility in Bangladesh as it tries to grow its international business in Asia and Europe. The company, Shahriyar Fabric Industries Limited, operates a vertically-integrated T-shirt facility near Dhaka, and is seen as an important first step in building Gildan's second-largest manufacturing hub.

Pressure from the US to persuade the Chinese Government to allow its currency to rise in value against the dollar has attracted a mixed response from apparel experts on different sides of the globe. Speaking at the annual Prime Source Forum in Hong Kong, some executives pointed out the move would make exports from other countries more competitive - while others fear higher prices for US consumers.

The global economic crisis has intensified structural changes in the textile and apparel sector as nations try to boost their competitiveness and avoid more job losses, a new report says. The study by the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that between 11m to 15m jobs were shed in the sector worldwide in the first phase of the global recession.

It also claims consolidation of supply chains is making it harder for small apparel producers to remain viable in the global market, as major buyers focus on a smaller number of "strategic suppliers."


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