Blog: Leonie Barrie2015 starting to shape up

Leonie Barrie | 12 January 2015

With most holiday merchandise brought into the US early as retailers rushed to beat a possible shutdown of West Coast ports, it is perhaps not surprising that apparel imports fell in November. But with shipments plunging from eight of the top-ten suppliers, Vietnam alone was the stand-out performer during the month.

The data for the 11-month period also puts China on track for another year of market share gains, casting doubt on claims that buyers are moving away from the country.

Meanwhile in Cambodia, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has urged global garment brands to help the industry to absorb the new minimum wage, which jumped 28% to US$128 at the beginning of the year. But a sharp fall in the number of working days lost by strikes in Cambodia's garment industry last year suggests workers have lost their appetite for protests.

European brands and retailers wanting to learn more about importing garments from Burma/Myanmar and make contact with potential suppliers, are being invited to join a trade mission to the country in March. The visit will also provide an opportunity for local manufacturers to learn more about doing business with European firms.

Deep discounts, lower fuel prices and an improved employment market all helped to drive better-than-expected comparable store sales gains for US apparel retailers in the crucial month of December.

But a more promotional stance in "athleisure" wear, store rationalisation, and a boost to second-half gross margins from the falling price of cotton are among the key drivers that analysts believe will shape the US apparel market in 2015.

Indeed, new forecasts suggest that despite expected growth in cotton consumption this season, high global stocks of cotton are likely to keep prices low for several years to come.

For British retailer Marks & Spencer, 2015 got off to a difficult start with results showing a 5.8% drop in like-for-like general merchandise sales over the Christmas period. The company blamed unseasonal weather and disruption at its main distribution centre.

And footwear, handbags and accessories retailer Coach Inc is to buy luxury shoe brand Stuart Weitzman from private equity firm Sycamore Partners in a deal worth up to $574m.

On the technology front, 3D CAD and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) tools are helping to revolutionise the clothing industry. And vendors of these systems are lining up for this year's Texprocess trade fair to help apparel retailers, brands and manufacturers navigate a range of industry challenges, including faster time-to-market and improved productivity.

And rounding off his trilogy on agents and buying offices, David Birnbaum comes out in defence of the new model buying office. The next challenge, he says, is the need for detailed audits to ensure that buying offices set their commissions fairly.

BLOG

Vietnam's textile-garment plan hits hurdles

domestically-made textile inputs remains a major problem that continues to hinder clothing manufacturers in the country....

NEWS

Reclassifying US fashion footwear could double duties

Plans to reclassify some fashion footwear imported into the United States as athletic footwear would result in a dramatic increase in duty rates - and have been slammed by brands, retailers and import...

BLOG

Levi Strauss leads on green supply chain in China

Sustainability remains top of mind for the industry with Levi Strauss, Adidas and C&A ranked amongst the leading brands to have made progress in environmental supply chain management in China over the...

NEWS

ISKO rolls out "most responsible" denim collection

Leading Turkish denim producer ISKO Denim has launched a new range of fabrics that it claims is "its most revolutionary, responsible" to date....

BLOG

UK clothing exports to US to be hit by further 25% duties

Cashmere jumpers, anoraks and swimwear made in the UK and exported to the US are among products being hit by an extra 25% tariff as part of the ongoing dispute between the US and the EU over aircraft ...

BLOG

New US trade trends taking shape?

In a reversal of trends seen in July, the three Central American countries that are the largest suppliers of clothing to the US – Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras – saw a dramatic fall in shipments in...

just-style homepage



Forgot your password?