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Global apparel markets: business update, 4th quarter 2009
published in Issue 8, 4th Quarter 2009
Among recent acquisitions, divestments and mergers, Delta Apparel has acquired the software firm Art Gun Technologies while Esprit will buy the remaining 51% stake in Esprit China which it does not already own. Li & Fung USA has agreed to buy Wear Me Apparel, and the Mittal family has agreed to buy Escada. Iconix, meanwhile has acquired 51% of Mark Ecko Enterprises, and has entered into a partnership to expand into Europe through a new subsidiary called Iconix Europe.
In other developments, Brandix Apparel India and Ocean India have started up production at Brandix India Apparel City (BIAC)—a textile and apparel industrial park set up by a Sri Lankan company. Gucci owner PPR will sell its retail chains as part of a long-term plan to focus on its clothing businesses, and Asia Pacific Leather Fair (APLF), the organiser of Prime Source Forum, has launched an online forum called Prime Source ThinkTank.
In announcing their financial results, most of the North America-based companies featured in this report posted declines in net sales, including Abercrombie & Fitch (down by 15%), Gildan Activewear (down by 17%), JC Penney (down by 3%), Levi Strauss (down by 6%) and Perry Ellis (down by 20%). However, Gap (up by 1%) and TJX Companies (up by 10%) achieved increases. Several European companies also recorded increases, including Asos (up by 47%), Benetton Group (up by 13%), Inditex (up by 6%) and Marks & Spencer (up by 3%). Meanwhile, Italy-based Yoox has started to trade on the Milan Stock Exchange.
Developments in trade include a 15% rise in Vietnam’s clothing exports to Japan during January-October 2009, but the industry is failing to meet growing export orders due to labour shortages. Elsewhere, the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) has been extended by one year, the EU and South Korea have signed a free trade agreement (FTA), and talks have begun with a view to establishing an FTA between South Korea and the USA.
New stores have been opened by Abercrombie & Fitch in Japan, H&M in Egypt, Mango in Iraq, Marks & Spencer (M&S) in India, and Zara in the USA. Meanwhile, plans are underway to open Gap stores in China, Uniqlo stores in Russia, Benetton concessions in Colombia, and MNG by Mango concessions in JC Penney stores in the USA.
In research and development, India’s Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) has opened a new knitwear technology centre in Tirupur, India, while Tukatech and the Institute of Apparel Management (IAM) have opened a new “digital fashion” laboratory, also in India.
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