Blog: Michelle RussellPolitical tensions will weigh on Cambodia's growth

Michelle Russell | 15 April 2014

As if political tensions and strikes for higher wages by garment workers have not already caused enough disruption in Cambodia, new research has suggested they will continue to weigh on the country's growth in 2014.

The prognosis comes from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which forecasts growth in Cambodia will ease moderately this year before picking up in 2015, helped in part by buoyant exports.

In the US, trade legislation that is "smart-track" rather than "fast-track", and reflects the apparel and footwear industries "as they are in this century - not as they were in the last one," is how the Senate Finance Committee's new chairman last week set out his upcoming agenda.

He told delegates: "It's my view that every trade discussion must now focus on how trade policy can be a springboard to high-skill, high-wage American jobs."

The popularity of fast fashion retailers such as Forever 21, H&M and Zara has changed the way consumers shop for value on a global basis, according to research by the Cowen Group.

It found continued expansion of these concepts is likely to put more pressure on speciality retailers in the US - particularly those in the teen space.

H&M was also in the spotlight last week with the publication of its annual sustainability report. The apparel giant's sustainability head, Helena Helmersson, told just-style that collaboration is key for retailers and manufacturers to create a more sustainable fashion industry.

While much collaboration has already taken place, she said more could be done. just-style will be publishing the full interview with Helmersson this week.

In the UK, Marks & Spencer was pleased to report an improvement in its clothing sales for its fourth-quarter, boosted by its strengthening womenswear business. Analysts said the retailer, which has been working to transform its core offering for some time, is "showing some green shoots of recovery", but said much more radical reforms are still needed.

Finally, despite increasing demand for organic cotton in international markets, global production continues to decline, European value fashion retailer C&A warned last week.

The group, which has been promoting the use of organic cotton in its clothes for around ten years, says counteracting the shortage is a priority.

Until next time...

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