Blog: Leonie BarrieSourcing trends show fluctuating fortunes

Leonie Barrie | 14 July 2014

Despite forecasts suggesting US imports would continue to rise in May - in part to offset the threat of possible industrial action and disruption at major West Coast container ports this summer - the latest data in fact shows apparel imports were down year-on-year.

And while Vietnam was one of the few countries bucking the overall decline, shipments from China and Bangladesh showed fluctuating fortunes.

Rising wages in China have not, as many feared, forced garment buyers to look elsewhere - thanks to the country's garment makers managing to keep their prices competitive.

But other potential problems are emerging from The China Dream adopted by Xi Jinping as the theme of his presidency. Combining "economic prosperity" with "national rejuvenation", the second part of this vision is starting to look troubling.

While the tide on US imports appears to be turning for Bangladesh, the country's overall ready-made garment exports soared by nearly 14% in the just-finished fiscal year as political stability returned to the South Asian country.

Keeping an eye on its retail supply chain has prompted Spanish retail giant Inditex, operator of the Zara fast fashion stores, to renew a "ground-breaking" agreement designed to monitor and track issues including labour standards and sub-contracting.

And an improving employment picture, favourable weather for purchases of summer clothing, and heavy promotions fuelled better-than-expected sales for US apparel retailers in June - but analysts have warned that headwinds remain.

The first quarter at UK retailer Marks & Spencer marked the twelfth consecutive decline in general merchandise sales - although clothing edged up 0.1% during the period. Some analysts describe the performance as "lacklustre" and "disappointing", while others believe it is "encouraging" and "provides some relief".

BLOG

Higher worker wages – who pays?

There continues to be a disconnect between buying departments and compliance teams when it comes to costing labour in price negotiations. So who should pay for a minimum wage increase?...

NEWS

Public comment sought on latest US tariff plans

The Office of the US Trade Representative is accepting public comments on the administration's proposal to implement an additional US$200bn of tariffs on Chinese imports announced last week....

BLOG

Trump tariff dispute rumbles on

The US has escalated its trade threats to China after President Donald Trump said he is considering tariffs on an additional $200bn of Chinese goods if China "refuses to change its practices."...

BLOG

Trump spares textile machinery in tariff spat

Hundreds of US imports from China will be hit with an additional 25% tariff from next month – but to the relief of the US textile, apparel and footwear industry, most of the equipment used in the dome...

NEWS

Enka completes first viscose filament yarn audit

German firm Enka has become the first viscose filament yarn producer to undergo a CanopyStyle audit, demonstrating it has taken action to remove potential risks of sourcing from ancient and endangered...

BLOG

Esquel's eco-friendly manufacturing complex

Hong Kong-based Esquel Group, the world's largest woven shirt maker, has been bedding-in operations at a ground-breaking new $313.3m eco-friendly manufacturing complex in southern China....

just-style homepage



Forgot your password?