Blog: Leonie BarrieWal-Mart sees light at the end of the tunnel

Leonie Barrie | 25 February 2013

US retail giant Wal-Mart is finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel as far as its domestic apparel business is concerned - last week reporting the first full-year of positive comparable apparel sales for seven years.

The revelation that efforts to turn around its apparel business are finally starting to gain traction came as the world's largest retailer posted an 8.6% rise in fourth quarter profit to US$5.6bn, with revenue up 3.9% to $127.1bn.

A move away from image-led fashion items back towards basics and essentials like underwear, socks and T-shirts was attributed to the apparel gains, along with improved quality.

Gains were also seen at Wal-Mart's UK-based George at Asda clothing brand, which is ramping up its international expansion to give it a presence in 24 countries by the end of September. This will be driven mainly through online expansion.

The brand also said it remains committed to sourcing in Bangladesh - partly because it's the "right thing to do", but also because it has invested heavily in improving productivity in the country.

International growth is also topping the agenda at Iconix Brand Group, which has bought European denim brand Lee Cooper in a $72m deal. The acquisition of "another truly global brand" will help elevate the New York based firm's international business to around one-third of its total this year, the company said.

But struggling Australian surfwear firm Billabong International has swung to a first-half loss after writing off the value of its brands - and says that from next month it intends to slash the number of apparel suppliers that it uses to less than one-fifth of the current total. Billabong, which is currently a takeover target for two rival bidders, also lowered its full-year guidance for the second time since December, blaming difficult trading conditions in Europe and a poor performance at the Nixon watch and accessories brand.

Malaysia's textile and clothing industry, meanwhile, is planning to focus on three key areas - higher value fashion, dyeing and finishing, and technical textiles - to sustain growth and enable it continue to compete with lower-cost competition elsewhere in Asia.


BLOG

A confusing mix of sustainable cotton options

There's an undeniable desire on the part of brands around the world to clean up their supply chains, and there's no lack of interest in using more sustainable cotton. But the confusing mix of standard...

BLOG

Have your say – Take part in just-style’s State of Sourcing survey

The global apparel industry and its supply chain is going through a period of unprecedented change. How do you and your colleagues see the outlook for 2018? And what strategies are you likely to be tu...

BLOG

Under Armour's strategic deep dives

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 pre...

BLOG

Esquel Group on a sustainability mission

Hong Kong-based textile and apparel giant Esquel Group has made it its mission to weave sustainability into its core values, and across a vertical supply chain that spans every step from cotton farmin...

just-style homepage



Forgot your password?