Blog: Leonie BarrieBusana Apparel on an expansion drive

Leonie Barrie | 21 August 2017

Busana Apparel Group, Indonesia's largest woven apparel exporter, is on a drive to expand its domestic capacity, has set up its first factory in Ethiopia, is exploring opportunities in Vietnam, and eyeing new products as it builds the business to lead in each of its categories. The company’s chairman Maniwanen Marimutu spoke with just-style about the firm’s ambitions.

US-based men's wear producer Trybus Group is also expanding its supply chain into Ethiopia, becoming the latest company to set up a new factory in the country.

Vietnam's minimum wage is expected to rise by 6.5% next year – but the increase will be the lowest in 11 years. The new rate for 2018, which has been agreed by The National Wage Council, must be approved by the government before it comes into force.

And almost 2,000 new garment-making jobs are set to be created in Ghana thanks to an initiative with clothing manufacturer Dignity DTRT Limited that is supported by the US-government.

But a German initiative designed to boost sustainability in the clothing and textile sector has been losing members. A senior manager has told just-style the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles will continue working hard to extend its influence and fix operational problems.

One of the participants is outdoor clothing company Vaude, which has just completed a two-year project to educate key suppliers in Asia on environmental management and resource efficiency. It now plans to roll out the initiative to all material suppliers.

The chairman of India's Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) has also told just-style how a new national apparel industry sustainability programme should help Indian clothing exporters become more competitive.

Growing demand for sustainable cotton meant the Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) initiative saw around 50m CmiA labelled textiles put onto the market in 2016 – helping lift license revenues by 70% year-on-year.

And sustainable supply chain campaigner Solidaridad has teamed up with risk management company QuizRR on a project to offer digital training on workers' rights in global supply chains.

But US President Donald Trump has called time on his American Manufacturing Council following the departure of several executives last week – including the resignation of Kevin Plank, CEO of US apparel and footwear group Under Armour.

In another major move, the workwear market is consolidating with the acquisition by VF Corporation of Williamson-Dickie Mfg Co – owner of brands including Dickies – in a deal worth around $820m. The deal will be VF's first acquisition in the six years since it bought Timberland back in 2011.

Apparel giant HanesBrands is changing how it meets the needs of full-figure/plus-size consumers with the launch of new lingerie lines under its Maidenform and Playtex brands "for women who love their curves."

Gap Inc has increased its full year earnings guidance after booking its third consecutive quarter of positive comparable sales growth – driven by its Old Navy brand – but one analyst is less confident that the retailer is in "full recovery mode."

And in the most recent second-quarter filings from US apparel and footwear brands and retailers, retail giant Walmart appears to be holding its own in a challenging and competitive retail market, L Brands booked a fall in both sales and earnings for the second quarter, and US department store giant Target reported an "encouraging" second-quarter as efforts to turn around its business seem to be paying off.

In other news, the first day of the NAFTA renegotiation was told President Trump is not interested in mere tweaks; researchers are close to powering wearable technology devices with flexible batteries printed directly onto fabric; and the green light has been given to a textile and apparel visa for Togo under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

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