Blog: Leonie BarrieA focus on fit pays off for C&A

Leonie Barrie | 25 November 2015

If proof was needed of the link between consistent garment size and fit and its impact on top-line growth, then look no further than European value fashion retailer C&A – where a 10-month overhaul of fit and product development processes is already paying dividends. Involving the supply base as early as possible has also been one of the keys to success.

A conference on sustainability staged by Hong Kong-based textile and apparel giant Esquel Group has heard how China is making serious efforts to green its growth – and the clothing and textile sector is playing its part.

Proving this point, Adidas, H&M and Levi's have some of the "greenest" supply chains in China, according to an evaluation of 167 brands on their supply chain performance. The research also puts Marks & Spencer, Walmart, Esquel and Nike in the top 10.

Cambodia's government is moving forward in adopting a controversial law on trade unions, despite opposition from labour rights groups and garment manufacturers.

And apparel and footwear makers in Myanmar believe the country's anticipated transfer of power to the opposition next March should attract more foreign investment, but there are also concerns that future liberalisation will attract tough overseas competition.

Jordan's US$1.34bn garment sector continues to expand despite the turmoil in much of the Middle East, with growth forecast at 10% in 2015.Yet while the industry is growing, jeans manufacturers have been complaining about water shortages and rising costs.

Apparel brands, retailers and suppliers have to navigate an increasing number of supply chain challenges in order to operate in a more efficient and ethical way. But it is also important to look to alliances in creativity, engineering and sustainability to avoid inconsistency in the future, according to speakers at last month's International Apparel Federation (IAF) Convention in Istanbul.

And as retailers on both sides of the Atlantic are gearing up for the hoped-for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping bonanzas, many will also be waiting with baited breath to see if their supply chains can cope with the challenge.

Meanwhile, in other news, a new laser solution from Jeanologia replaces potassium permanganate in jeans production; Uniqlo has inked a new five-year sourcing deal with Japanese textile maker Toray Industries; and an investigation by the US Trade Commission could slow progress of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.

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