Blog: Leonie BarrieIntriguing questions about the impact of Amazon

Leonie Barrie | 27 July 2015

A lot was written about Amazon on just-style last week, following a prediction that the internet giant could take the top spot for US apparel retailing by 2017. The retailer also posted a surprise second-quarter profit, giving it a valuation that is higher than Wal-Mart. The figures raise intriguing questions about Amazon’s possible impact on the clothing market.

The battle for growth and added value in Myanmar’s garment export industry is heavily weighted against the mostly small local manufacturers who face tough competition from an increasing number of foreign investors with deep pockets and strong networks.

And H&M has called on the country's government to ensure a uniform minimum wage is implemented across all industries.

Ethiopia’s Almeda Textile, which also supplies apparel to H&M, is planning to ramp up production to five times its current capacity in the next five to six years at its Adwa factory, the company told just-style.

And while supply chain risks might not have changed much in the past ten years, as companies expand their global sourcing they are more exposed to a number of challenges, from fluctuations in currency and exchange rates, to volatile oil prices, regulatory change, geo-political issues and supply chain fraud.

Pakistan’s textile industry is pessimistic about its prospects, warning of wholesale closures amongst fabric mills unless the government steps in to help.

And as trade ministers prepare to head to Hawaii for the latest round of talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), groups representing US brands, retailers, manufacturers and importers are calling for "workable apparel provisions" in the agreement.

What sells when, and how to source ahead to make the most of it, is one of the biggest challenges facing fashion brands and retailers. But modern technology has created a new information chain that gives a stronger indication of what to manufacture or stock.

Fabrics, and the processes of joining them together, continue to evolve. One of the key factors that can deliver successful seam sealing and thermal bonding in textiles is the process of temperature control.

Striking workers at a Puma apparel supplier in Cambodia are being urged to return to work amid an ongoing dispute over their contracts.

And a sit-in protest by more than 1,000 workers at the Swan Garment and Swan Jeans factories in Bangladesh has entered its second week, as they seek payment of several months’ wages and bonuses following the "sudden and illegal closure" of the factories in April.

Meanwhile, in other news, US apparel giant VF Corp has reported strong second-quarter earnings and sales growth; Uniqlo has closed its store on Chinese e-commerce site JD.com after just three months; and the Indian Government has launched a US$300m credit fund to finance textile and apparel projects in Vietnam.

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