Blog: Leonie BarrieHoliday hopes continue to remain high

Leonie Barrie | 6 December 2010

Holiday hopes continue to remain high after major US retailers saw a strong surge in November sales, with a Black Friday boost helping accelerate momentum already gained so far this year.

Sharper increases in key holiday categories like apparel were helped by a raft of sales promotions, which began at the beginning of the month as firms tried to persuade early spenders to open their purses. Longer opening hours also helped drive traffic during the Thanksgiving weekend.

The gains are seen to indicate a solid start to the 2010 holiday season, although retailers still have a lot of work to do to drive business and secure sales over the next three weeks.

Elsewhere in the apparel industry last week, the focus was on environmental and social issues.

Sporting goods giant Nike released a new Environmental Apparel Design Tool designed to fast-track sustainable innovation among clothing companies. The tool, based on the company's Considered Design Index, aims to help designers make real-time choices that reduce the environmental impact of their work by using fewer natural resources such as oil and water.

And China's textile industry is being urged to clean up its act after investigations uncovered widespread pollution in two textile factory towns in Guangdong province that make blue jeans and bras. The probe by environmental campaign group Greenpeace found high concentrations of heavy metals in toxic discharges at Xintang and Gurao. And it is now calling on the textile industry to take steps to cut the use and release of hazardous chemicals during production.

Another call has been made for a global ban on the sandblasting of jeans, with campaigners urging other brands to join Levi-Strauss and Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) who have already said they intend to end the practice. Labour rights groups claim sandblasting poses unacceptable health risks to workers and want it phased-out from garment supply chains.

Meanwhile, plans by the Sri Lankan government to develop the country's textile sector have been questioned by industry specialists who doubt the viability of more textile mills. Incentives for the textile and apparel sector - aimed at increasing domestic value addition - are included in the national budget for 2011. But there are concerns the country's high energy costs would offset any benefit of making more fabrics locally.


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