Blog: Leonie BarrieProgress on product processes

Leonie Barrie | 1 June 2015

While new Gap Inc CEO Art Peck has a laser focus on fixing the Gap brand’s woes, finding the right formula is proving elusive. Indeed, a turnaround is not now expected until mid-2016, with the spring season seen as a "no excuses moment."

Presiding over his second quarterly earnings results – including a 10% decline in Gap brand comparable store sales – he says the company is “working very hard to change the product processes…to get Gap to a more consistent on-trend, on-brand footing.”

Meanwhile, teen apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch Co says it is also seeing progress in ongoing efforts to make quicker decisions and speed up its supply chain – even though net losses widened to US$63.2m in the first-quarter.

British-born jeansmaker Jason Denham has a relentless enthusiasm for denim. He has been raising the bar on jeans innovation since he started out 20 years ago designing for Irish rock band U2, and his vision for growing his namesake brand includes using the most advanced washing techniques, high-end fabrics, and sustainable mills.

Morocco’s garment manufacturing industry is continuing to invest in capacity to compete with Asian rivals and new African competition. The government has assigned US$304m as grants for SMEs with established supply chains and sales networks, and is targeting 90,000 new jobs in the sector.

After a difficult few years, Portugal’s footwear and clothing industries are also on the up. Last year shoe exports hit a record high of around 89m pairs, bringing in EUR1.8bn, and overseas sales grew 7.7%.

Two years after the Accord for Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh was set up, the group says it could still take at least another 18 months before all corrective action plans are completed. Most recent milestones include the first two fully remediated factories – yet 80% of its findings at 1,500 factories are still outstanding.

But a major push got underway last week to ensure up to 800,000 workers in the Bangladesh ready-made garment industry gain practical skills on how to reduce workplace accidents.

And in other news, the number of strikes at Cambodia's garment factories rose nearly 74% in the first three months of the year; Nike is cooperating with authorities after an unidentified sportswear company took part in bribing a Brazilian soccer official; and around 6,000 Indonesian textile workers have been laid off this year.

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