US retailers and brands are still sourcing more apparel from Bangladesh, with data continuing to suggest there has so far been no negative impact on orders from the Rana Plaza building collapse and wider factory safety issues.

The latest official data from the US Commerce Department's Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) shows Bangladesh saw some of the biggest gains in apparel shipments in both August and in the first eight months of the current year.

The country currently ranks as the third-largest apparel supplier to the US after China and Vietnam, with a 7.2% share of the market in volume terms.

Its imports rose 11.5% to 1.2bn square metre equivalents (SME) in the first eight months of the year, up from 1.07bn SME a year earlier. By value, imports rose 10.4% to $3.49bn over the same period.

Imports were up by an even more impressive 15.96% year-on-year in the month of August alone to 161m SME, although this was marginally slower than the 17.3% growth seen in July.

Even so, the figures suggest that Bangladesh's clothing industry is continuing to build on its momentum as a low-cost sourcing destination - despite the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka in April with the loss of more than 1,100 lives.

It has been suggested that the impact of cancelled orders and the blacklisting of a number of Bangladeshi factories after the tragedy may take a few more months to appear.

Sales in the US import market could also be hit by the US government's decision to suspend preferential duty under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) scheme.

But it could also be the case that initiatives including the North American Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety have done enough to ease concerns about the country's clothing industry.

Click here to read a more detailed report on US apparel and textile imports in August and the first eight months of the year.