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February 15, 2006
Women's Wear Journal
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US Congress To End
US Congress approved a budget bill that will end a controversial
anti-dumping trade law, known as the Byrd Amendment, in October 2007.
The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) is now calling on President Bush to immediately sign The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, which includes a repeal of a section of trade law that hurts US businesses and US workers.
The final version of the budget reconciliation bill, previously approved by the US Senate, includes a measure includes a provision canceling the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000, also known as the Byrd Amendment, in 2007.
The Byrd Amendment, enacted several years ago in secret, entitles US manufacturers who successfully petition for anti-dumping duties against imports of like products to receive the dumping duties collected by the US government.
According to AAFA president and CEO Kevin M Burke: “The Byrd Amendment is a travesty of inequality and corporate welfare.”
“It was originally enacted outside of the public eye and normal Congressional review in order to benefit a handful of companies at the expense of many other domestic competitors.”
Congress’ own watchdog agency, the Government Accountability Office, described it as a wasteful and potentially fraudulent corporate welfare scheme, he said.
Once President Bush signs the law, US trading partners will be able to remove the punitive tariffs they are now assessing on US-made textile and apparel exports as a result of the Byrd Amendment, which the World Trade
Organization declared illegal under global trade rules.
China's 2005 Textiles Jump
China's textile sales reached CNY3.3tn (US$408bn) in 2005, up a massive 115.7% from 2001, according to a report from the National Development and Reform Commission.
Apparel exports reached $116bn in 2005, up 118.9% from five years ago.
More than 19 million people were employed by textile firms, and over 70% of the employees come from rural areas.
Models present underwear ensembles as part of the
Italian Lingerie fashion show in Paris
U.S. Trade Deficit Breaks
Record in 2005
The U.S. trade deficit has broken into record territory again, soaring to US$725.8bn in 2005 according to figures released by the US Census Bureau.
This all-time high is a $108.2 billion jump from $617.6bn in 2004.
The US trade imbalance with China also ballooned to a new record of $202 bn – a $40bn leap from the deficit of $162bn reported in 2004.
The US trade deficit for manufactured goods was $506 billion in 2005. The US trade deficit with China in manufactured goods has worsened from a deficit of $83.5bn in 2000 to $204bn in 2005 – an increase of $121bn.
In textiles and clothing, the trade deficit has increased by 34.8% between 2000 and 2005 – reaching $81.7bn last year.
Lane Bryant Opens Outlet
Charming Shoppes Inc., the parent of the Columbus-based Lane Bryant clothing chain, said it plans open 155 to 160 stores, including the launch of Lane Bryant Outlet stores.
The Bensalem, Pa.-based company expects to open 75 to 80 Lane Bryant Outlet stores by August. The stores are expected to generate sales of $50 million to $60 million for the balance of the fiscal year.
The stores mostly will be in former Casual Corner Annex storefronts operated by Enfield, Conn.-based Retail Brand Alliance Inc. Charming Shoppes agreed to take over the stores' leases in December.
Charming Shoppes also plans to open 80 traditional stores - 60 Lane Bryants, 15 Fashion Bugs and five Catherines Plus Sizes. But most of the new Lane Bryants will be larger than other stores and include Cacique Double Platinum floor space committed to lingerie.
In addition, Lane Bryant will be expanded into catalog sales in late 2007.
Charming Shoppes made the announcement as part of its outlook for the new fiscal year, which will conclude Feb. 3, 2007. For the year, the company expects sales of $3.05 billion to $3.1 billion, up from $2.75 billion for the year ended Jan. 28. Comparable-store sales are expected to grow by "low single digits."
Charming Shoppes owns 2,236 stores in 48 states. It specializes in plus-sized apparel. Lane Bryant was a division of Limited Brands Inc. until 2001, when it was acquired by Charming
China & Brazil Sign Exports
China and Brazil are due to sign a deal that will restrict exports of some Chinese textile goods to the Brazilian market.
The pre-agreement, to be signed by Ivan Ramalho, Brazil’s Secretary of Foreign Trade at the Ministry of Development, and Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng, will establish quotas for eight types of Chinese textile exports.
A final deal will be sealed after further negotiations between the two countries have taken place.
The goods involved in the deal constitute 60% of Brazil's textile imports, according to the Brazilian Trade Ministry.
Chinese textile imports into Brazil jumped five-fold over the past three years, the ministry said.
China has already had a range of restrictive measures applied to its textile and clothing exports after the
World Trade Organization quota system expired at the start of 2005, leading to further Chinese domination of the global markets.
Racy Bra Ads Banned from Stockholm's Transport Network
An ad campaign for a new line of bras has been banned from Stockholm's transport network.
It wasn't the photos of scantily clad women in Lindex's ad campaign that were objectionable, it was the slogan "We love boobs!"
"In our judgment the text will upset certain groups in society," said Maria Adolfsson, press officer at SL, the agency that manages the city's buses and trains.
"We have said no to the text for roughly the same reason that they want it there -- because it is intended to attract attention."
Clear Channel, the company which owns the poster sites in stations and bus stops on the SL network, first raised concerns about the slogan, the newspaper said.
"They thought that people could react badly and we agreed," said Adolfsson.
China Considers Reporting
EU to WTO
China will consider reporting the EU to the World Trade
Organization if the latter imposes anti-dumping duties on its footwear, according to a report which was written by an unnamed analyst.
The report said Vice Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng had issued a warning on the subject of duties, which China is fiercely opposing.
Gao recently met the EU’s executive commission as well as retail representatives, who generally agree that duties are a bad idea for the industry.
Many European retailers have voiced concerns that the stream of proposed duties are pointless protectionism and will harm trade, as cheap goods will be held back from entering the market.
Sportswear companies in particular fear import duties could cause large-scale job losses within Europe.
Alisdair Gray, the British Retail Consortium’s Brussels director, said that anti-dumping is "a very dangerous road to go down", especially as China
specializes in mass-produced, cheap shoes, which European producers cannot match.
"The EU thinks this is protection for its industry; protection against job losses," he said. "But you just can’t buy the same sort of goods in Europe."
The US last week agreed to terminate the Byrd Amendment, its much-debated anti-dumping trade law, in October next year.
Women Sues La Senza
A mother of two is suing lingerie firm La Senza for £2500 after her bra ripped off her skin.
Businesswoman Karen Macartney, 38, was left with a scar - the equivalent of third degree burns - close to her right breast after wearing the £40 strapless bra to a birthday party.
Thebra is fitted to the skin by adhesive tapes called Dream shapers.
Karen felt pain during the party but only realized how much damage was caused when she got home and peeled off the black backless bra.
When she contacted La Senza, Karen, of Cramond, Edinburgh, was told they needed to investigate HER before considering her complaint.
Karen said: "This has just been horrific. I only had the bra on for a short while when I began to feel uncomfortable.
"But it was only when I took it off that I realized it had left my skin red raw. I peeled it off very carefully as the instructions tell you to do but my skin actually came off with the adhesive.
"I was in agony, and the next morning my skin had blistered.
"It was like somebody was sticking hot needles into me and I have never experienced so much pain."
When it didn't improve, Karen went to her GP, who told her the wound was like third-degree burns and that several layers of her skin had come off. Karen said she had difficulty sleeping and had to go braless until the injury healed.
But when she contacted La Senza she said they refused to take her complaint seriously.
She said: "Initially, they offered me free underwear and I told them what I wanted was an investigation.
"They tried to suggest I might be allergic but I've worn this bra before with no problems, so I can only assume that perhaps the adhesive was too strong on this one.
"There was certainly something badly wrong and other women should be made aware of the potential risks. I even sent photos of my injuries and the adhesive tape which still carried bits of my skin.
"At one stage, they said they had to investigate me first to check I was a real person. I couldn't believe it."
Karen, who bought the bra in December, complained to Trading Standards, who are investigating.
She said: "I think there should be some kind of warning on the packet. But La Senza didn't seem interested and fobbed me off to their insurance company. But I feel they should be the ones resolving the situation."
Dr Gareth Smith said: "If enough skin is ripped off, it is more or less the same as a third-degree burn. If it's not healing properly, I would recommend the lady consults a plastic surgeon."
La Senza said they had received Karen's complaint about the Dreamshapers replacement tapes and added: "This is a medical-based adhesive which has been tested and approved and is sold to pharmacies and hospitals.
"Each pack's instructions recommends a skin test before every use.
"We take any product complaint seriously and we are investigating.
"As a result of a demand for cash compensation from the customer, we have referred the matter to our insurers, which is standard practice."
Sara Lee Finalizes European
Branded Apparel Sale
Consumer goods group Sara Lee has completed the sale of its European branded apparel business to an affiliate of private investment firm Sun Capital Partners.
The affiliate paid Sara Lee about EUR100m (US$119.99m) in cash plus potential contingent payments based on the future performance of the business.
The enterprise being sold deals in markets including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and Eastern Europe. Brands include Dim, Playtex, Wonderbra, Lovable, Abanderado, Nur Die and Unno. The branded apparel business made nearly $1.2bn in sales in financial 2005.
Sara Lee Courtaulds, the UK-based division that manufactures private-label clothing for retailers, is not part of this sale. The company continues to explore its options in regard to the sale of the Sara Lee Courtaulds business, which generated nearly $560m in sales in financial year 2005.
Sara Lee is a Chicago-based global manufacturer and marketer of brand-name products. The company unveiled in February a multi-year plan to transform Sara Lee into a company focused on its food, beverage, and household and body care businesses around the world. Sara Lee will drive growth in its key categories via such strong brands as Ball Park, Douwe Egberts, Hillshire Farm, Jimmy Dean, Kiwi, Sanex, Senseo and its namesake, Sara Lee.
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