Blog: Leonie BarrieImports rise but promotions drive sales

Leonie Barrie | 9 September 2013

US textile and apparel imports continued to climb in July as retailers brought more merchandise into the country for the start of the back-to-school season, with double-digit gains seen by both Bangladesh and Vietnam.

According to official figures, total textile and apparel imports climbed 4.8% compared with a year earlier. Leading the way, China remained the largest textile and apparel supplier to the US in July, with shipments up 5.92%. India, in second place, saw gains of 5.4%.

One of the biggest winners in the month was Bangladesh, whose US imports jumped 16.6%, continuing to suggest the country's factory safety issues have so far had no negative impact on orders.

But figures also suggest the back-to-school selling period got off to a slow start in August, as US apparel retailers turned to aggressive promotional activity to try to drive sales. A shift towards spending on durables, vehicles and housing is also starting to raise concerns for the upcoming holidays, the biggest selling season of the year.

Having long sat on fashion's sidelines, Australasia has generated significant interest of late. In particular, the region's relative resilience to the financial turmoil seen in much of the northern hemisphere has proved to be a key attraction for international retailers.

And prompted by issues raised by the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex in Bangladesh, work is underway to develop a new international labour standard for the global garment industry.  

The Garment Industries Transparency Initiative (GITI) has been proposed by Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, and seeks to set out standards that not only improve conditions for factory workers, but also rank the efforts of individual companies. By doing so, it hopes to improve the sector's accountability and transparency and reassure buyers and consumers on factory working conditions.

As Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tagging has matured, its benefits for the apparel industry have become clear. In this month's management briefing, just-style looks at the latest innovations, opportunities for enhanced supply chain visibility and return on investment, increased accuracy in inventory management, protection against theft and counterfeits, and the impact of omni-channel retailing.

ANALYSIS

China and changing consumer top of mind for US apparel execs

Taking the theme 'Demand and Deliver,' this year's annual American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) conference mulled American trade policy, along with finding creative ways to thrive amid an eve...

BLOG

The price of US imports from China continues to fall

Despite concerns about sourcing from China amid an intensifying trade war with the US, newly-published figures show China continues to dominate US apparel imports – with import volume rising and price...

BLOG

Outlook for UK retailers looks bleak

The outlook for UK retailers continues to look bleak. UK department store John Lewis blamed a "challenging" retail backdrop for a more than 45% drop in full-year profits to GBP160m. It was a similar s...

BLOG

British MPs call for laws to tackle fast fashion

The UK government is being urged to introduce legislation that requires fashion brands and retailers to perform due diligence checks across their supply chains and take more responsibility for the env...

NEWS

Top stories this week on just-style...

Top stories on just-style this week were dominated by China, with a look at the impact of an environmental protection tax on the country's textile production, and an Op-Ed from Rick Helfenbein, presid...

BLOG

How Levi Strauss is driving sustainable change

The denim and jeans sector is having to work tirelessly to change perceptions over its sustainability, or lack of it. But change is nigh, promises Michael Kobori, vice president of social and environm...

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