Blog: Leonie BarrieNew light on sourcing trends

Leonie Barrie | 26 September 2011

Two recent reports have shed new light on sourcing trends in the apparel, textile and footwear industries, with one suggesting the sector may currently be at a turning point that requires dramatic changes to strategies and business models.

Faced with rising labour costs and an ageing workforce in China, apparel and footwear companies are reassessing their sourcing strategies across the Asia Pacific region, according to KPMG International. Countries like Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and Vietnam are among the main beneficiaries of this shift, especially as regional integration and preferential trade terms take hold.

Another forecast from UNIDO suggests growth in world factory production is expected to slow this year as private consumption and international trade continue to fall - with apparel output in developing economies among the few sectors to have contracted in the past six months.

Fast fashion retailer H&M, meanwhile, has become the latest company to win praise from environmental pressure group Greenpeace for pledging to eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals throughout its supply chain. The world's second biggest clothing retailer now joins Nike, Adidas and Puma as major international brands that have promised to commit to a toxic-free future in response to pressure from activists.

And Spanish retailer Inditex, owner of the Zara fashion stores, has outlined a number of steps intended to stamp out exploitation in its Brazilian supply chain following last month's discovery that some of its clothing production was subcontracted to illegal sweatshops. Working with unions, NGOs, academic institutions and business associations, Inditex says it will implement "pioneering procedures" designed to ensure collective responsibility for the various stakeholders involved in the textile supply chain.

Following the announcement that Fast Retailing, operator of the Uniqlo casual clothing chain, is aiming to become the biggest clothing retailer in the world within the next decade, just-style has spoken to analysts about its goals. While it will clearly face a series of obstacles on its way to that title, the feeling is that the firm's plans to ramp up production to 5bn items a year and reach record sales of JPY5 trillion (USD65bn) a year by 2020 show that it means business.

And the US is also "well on its way" to expanding textile and apparel exports by 15% a year by 2014, particularly to Western trading partners in the Americas, according to Kim Glas, deputy assistant secretary for textiles and apparel at the US Department of Commerce. She tells just-style that shipments could rise to nearly $30bn in the next three years.


BLOG

New project to benefit garment workers in Ethiopia

The growing interest of international brands to source garments from Ethiopia provides an opportunity to develop the sector in a sustainable way, the founders of a new project in the country say. Laun...

BLOG

Mexico tariff move "unfathomable" and "concerning"

In a surprise move late last week, the US announced new tariffs on all imports from Mexico – starting next Monday (10 June). The tariffs are in response to the flow of migrants crossing from Mexico in...

BLOG

Major brands urge Trump to pull footwear from tariff list

A coalition of 173 US footwear brands, including Nike and Adidas, is urging US President Donald Trump to remove footwear from the proposed tariffs list on goods imported from China, saying it would be...

BLOG

Trump moves forward on tariff threats

The ongoing tariff war between the US and China took another turn last week in a move US apparel and footwear retailers and importers have been dreading, as the Trump administration moved forward on t...

just-style homepage



Forgot your password?