Apparel imports to the United States have fallen 0.6 per cent year-on-year in quantity terms to 6 billion square metre equivalents for the first four months of 2004, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) announced today.

According to the association, apparel imports also fell 0.9 per cent year-on-year in value terms to $19.1bn for the year to April.

However, footwear imports to the US rose 6.4 per cent year-on-year in value terms to 780 million pairs for the same period, complemented by a 1.7 per cent rise in value terms to $5.2bn.

"The numbers for the first four months of 2004 show that the US apparel market stabilised compared to the first four months of 2003, while the US footwear market continued to grow," AAFA CEO Kevin Burke said of the US Department of Commerce data.

"US consumers continue to enjoy access to the widest variety of high quality clothes and shoes at affordable prices because US apparel and footwear firms continue to maintain diversity in their sourcing.

"While no single supplier dominates the US apparel market, US footwear firms continue to look to new suppliers to meet the needs of hardworking US families."

For the four-month period, the Central America region remained the number one supplier to the US apparel market, while China topped the list of footwear importers with 644.7m pairs.