2nd Quarter 2008
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Talking strategy: how will green manufacturing policies, high fuel prices and a slowing economy affect the global apparel industry?
published in Issue 2, 2nd Quarter 2008
The prospect of a recession in the USA and in some EU countries is placing a substantial amount of uncertainty on players in international clothing markets. The situation has come at a time when firms in the industry are already trying to adapt to a number of complex factors which they have not been able to control. Three of the most influential of these factors have been: fierce competition from low cost Asian producers, especially China; pressure from governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to make manufacturing more environmentally and socially responsible; and rapidly increasing fuel prices.
If these factors weren't enough to cope with, garment manufacturers and retailers must now face up to the prospect of slack demand in their most important markets.
One thing which is certain is that these factors, collectively, will squeeze manufacturers’ and retailers’ margins. Pushing up unit prices in line with increases in costs may not be an option as manufacturers could run the risk of pricing themselves out of the market, especially if consumer demand is slow. In Talking Strategy this quarter, the president of the International Apparel Federation (IAF), Vassilis Masselos, provides insight into how these macro economic factors will affect the global apparel value chain and offers potential solutions for manufacturers and retailers alike.