Blog: Leonie BarrieIs China losing its sheen?

Leonie Barrie | 12 August 2013

Data released last week showed that US apparel imports continued to climb in June - with double-digit gains in shipments from Bangladesh and Vietnam helping offset declines from China.

The figures, which coincide with retailers starting to bring more merchandise into the country ahead of the back-to-school season, show that while China remains the largest apparel supplier, its shipments were lower than a year earlier. In contrast, second-largest supplier Vietnam showed the strongest growth, followed by Bangladesh in third position.

The figures suggest there has so far been no negative impact on orders from Bangladesh following the Rana Plaza building collapse earlier this year and wider factory safety issues.

The numbers also lend weight to concerns that China is losing its sheen as the ultimate low-wage, high-growth sourcing and manufacturing destination. New research pinpoints 16 nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America as the likely pretenders to China's crown.

One of the biggest and most fundamental differences between Bangladesh and rival Cambodia is that the Cambodian government and industry are held accountable for making the necessary improvements to factory working conditions. And this will help ensure Cambodia moves up the economic ladder.

But while pressure groups are adept at focusing on social and environmental scandals linked to the clothing industry, the impact of buyer behaviour rarely gets a look-in. Yet the impact of unpredictable weather, over-geared retailers and uncertain consumers magnifies as it passes down the supply chain.

While most US apparel retailers posted same-store sale gains last month, concerns were raised that many also missed expectations in a still-challenging trading environment. However, despite a slow start to the key back-to-school season, observers expect consumers to start shopping in earnest in August.

And German sportswear brand Adidas lowered its full-year outlook and said it expects the "lacklustre" trading environment in Europe - particularly Spain and Italy - to continue to weigh on sales and profit growth.

 

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...

just-style homepage



Forgot your password?