Blog: Leonie BarrieUnder Armour's strategic deep dives

Leonie Barrie | 6 November 2017

Amid signs of a slowdown in its North American business, US sportswear brand Under Armour has made a number of "strategic deep dives" into strategy, supply chain, product, marketing and sales as a precursor to speeding business and brand-right decisions.

The review comes as the company continues to battle weakness in North America, traditionally one of its strongest markets.

Unlike many other major apparel firms, value fashion chain Primark chooses not to openly set targets for its sustainability and ethical commitments, but instead "just get on and do it," as Katharine Stewart, Primark's director of ethical trade, tells just-style. Yet in recent years the retailer has started to open up about its work to engage more closely with its supply chain: in particular, turning its focus to ensuring all the cotton in its products is sourced sustainably.

The textile and clothing industry in Mauritius is facing tough times and fresh challenges, with exports falling amidst unfavourable currency shifts. The value of clothing and textile exports to all destinations dropped 9% in 2016, with declines seen for the last five years in key export markets.

Bangladesh's garment exports last year were also hit by the UK's decision to leave the European Union – but the South Asian country is confident it can pull back growth and retain its competitiveness.

Shares of garment manufacturer Crystal International Group made their debut in Hong Kong on Friday – with key customers Fast Retailing and L Brands the cornerstone investors. The apparel maker will use the proceeds of its IPO to invest in growing its garment manufacturing capacity and expanding into fabric production in Asia.

Turkish denim manufacturing giant Taypa Tekstil, supplier to brands including Levi's and Calvin Klein, is investing US$800m in what it says will be the largest textile facility in Algeria, in a bid to double production capacity in North Africa and diversify its product offering.

But a new report suggests the fashion industry needs to do more to prevent the exploitation of Syrian refugees in Turkish supply chains, with suggested actions including a change in purchasing policies.

Apparel giant VF Corp is amplifying its focus on high-performance apparel made of natural fibres with the purchase of New Zealand based brand Icebreaker.

And US-based fibre producer Invista is to sell its Apparel and Advanced Textiles business – including the Lycra brand – to Shandong Ruyi Investment Holding, one of the largest textile manufacturers in China.

But online retail behemoth Amazon is becoming a "frenemy" to apparel brands, a new report suggests, with the group's private labels overshadowing other ranges available on its site.

Meanwhile, in other news, German fashion brand Hugo Boss is to take orders on its Hugo brand via digital instead of physical samples; a new ranking lists viscose producers according to the impact they have on the world's forests; and Debenhams’ turnaround strategy has taken its toll on full-year earnings.

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