Blog: Leonie BarrieHigh-profile retail collapses continue

Leonie Barrie | 9 May 2016

Struggling teen apparel retailer Aeropostale has finally filed for bankruptcy protection, joining the ranks of American Apparel, Quiksilver, Pacific Sunwear and Sports Authority as the latest in a series of high-profile retail collapses.

The company has most recently been locked in a dispute with its main supplier – which has disrupted the supply of merchandise to its stores – but has also struggled to adapt to the changing tastes of teenagers and competition from fast-fashion operators. It will initially close around 154 stores in the US and Canada.

Meanwhile, troubled US retailer American Apparel is using a crowdsourcing campaign to look for new ideas for made-in-US products such as footwear that it can sell in its stores and online.

The Los Angeles based business, which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year, is seeking items such as leather goods, canvas goods, footwear, jewellery and small home furnishings.

And US clothing giant PVH Corp, owner of the Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein brands, will begin manufacturing its clothing products in Ethiopia this summer, just-style has learnt.

Clothing maker Gildan Activewear is expanding its manufacturing presence into Mexico after agreeing to buy Alstyle Apparel for US$110m. The apparel firm sees the ability to plug into its large-scale, low-cost global supply chain as the key to driving synergies from the acquisition.

Without a clear overview of their supply chains, companies face the very real risk of rogue sourcing and supplier fraud happening right under their noses. One of the keys to improving quality, compliance and oversight throughout the supply network is the implementation of new technology and software solutions.

Secret documents relating to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade pact being negotiated between the US and the EU have been leaked by environmental activist group Greenpeace – although the EU's top trading officials have denied any accusations of attempting to lower standards.

And in this month’s management briefing we take a closer look at sourcing shifts, and ask ‘Where next for apparel sourcing?’

Once clothing sourcing was all about China. Not any more. New manufacturing hubs offer a new competitive edge, while sourcing closer to home is a more commonly considered option. But this multiplicity of choices can bring its own headaches, requiring brands and retailers make subtle, complex and fluid purchasing decisions to keep ahead of the competition.

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