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Articles Of Interest

Retail Sales Dip In February
Page 1

New Counterfeit Law
Page 1

Secret Sweatshop Uncovered
Page 1

WTO Textile Talks Continue
Page 1

Sex & So Much More Show
Page 2

Buyers' Best Sellers
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Ask Andy
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McPete Sez
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Sex & So Much More Show Continued
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Ask Kevin
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Sex & So Much More Show Continued
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Market for Plus Sized Clothing Soars 50%
Page 4

EU's Anti-Dumping Duties
Page 4

Fruit of the Loom Pays for Lying
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Sex & So Much More Show Continued
Page 5

Bra Size Sparks Lawsuit
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The Buzz
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Reps Corner
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Shows & Events
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  April 1, 2006                                                 Issue #166


             McPete -Sez, 
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Retail Sales Dip in February
Consumer spending came back down to earth in February, after boisterous activity in January, as shoppers kept a closer hold on their wallets.
Sales at apparel and accessories stores fell a 3.3% in February to $16.2 billion, but were still 1.6% ahead of last year, according to a report by the Commerce Department. Revised figures for January showed a 2.4% increase against the preceding month and an 8.1% rise from last year.
Sales at department stores are down 1.4% in February to $18 billion and were off 2.8% from last February. This came after a 1.4% increase in January.
With rapid increase in home prices appearing to level off and fewer stock gains to be had since the market returned from a trough, high-end retailers could be impacted as the well-healed back off.
The tepid spending figures were joined by another Commerce report that showed the U.S. current account deficit-- which measures trade in goods and services, and investment flows between countries-- increased 20.5% last year to a record of $804.9 billion.


New Counterfeit Law
President Bush signed into law a bill that increases criminal penalties for counterfeiting in March.
"Counterfeiting costs our country hundreds of billions of dollars a year" said President Bush. "Counterfeiting hurts businesses. They lose the right to profit from their innovation.
"This administration and Congress have worked together to confront the illegal threat, the real threat of illegal activity such as counterfeiting. And the bill I'm signing today is an important step forward," he added.
The bill criminalizes the trafficking in counterfeit labels regardless of whether the bogus labels, handtags, medallions or packaging are attached to the counterfeit product. Distributors of counterfeit products have attempted to circumvent current laws by importing goods and counterfeit labels separately, then affixing the labels to generic goods, creating the counterfeit. 
"This loophole helped counterfeiters cheat consumers by passing off poorly made items as brand-name goods," said Bush. "By closing the loophole, we're going to keep honest Americans from losing business to scam artists."
The bill also expands penalties for those who traffic in counterfeit labels and packaging and requires the forfeiture of equipment used to make the items. It requires courts to order the destruction of all counterfeit products seized as part of a criminal investigation and it requires convicted counterfeiters to turn over their profits and any equipment. Lastly, the bill requires those convicted of counterfeiting to reimburse the legitimate businesses they exploited.
In a study released earlier this year, the U.s. Chamber of Commerce said that, based on estimates by the F.B.I., Interpol, and the World Customs Council, counterfeit goods cost U.S. companies $200 billion to $250 billion annually. On a global basis, piracy and counterfeiting costs the world economy an estimated $600 billion a year in lost sales, according to the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce.

Secret Sweatshop Uncovered
             in Spain
Spanish police have uncovered a secret sweatshop factory in the 
LosCipreses area of Malaga.
The unnamed textile factory on Calle Guinda was allegedly run by 
illegal Chinese workers.
Police arrested two people said to be in charge of the factory and 
five workers. According to a police statement, sewing machines were 
heard from the factory 24 hours a day.
One worker was reported as saying he was not allowed to leave the 
premises to sleep and had been working eleven-hour days without 

Models parade in lingerie by Taiwanese company 
                 Ordifen at a show in Beijing


Wal-Mart Ups On-The-Spot
           Factory Visits
Wal-Mart stores is increasing its number of on-the-spot visits to 
foreign factories it uses to source garments, shoes and other goods.
Surprise inspections will constitute 30% of all its inspections this year, compared to 20% last year and just 8% in 2004, director of international corporate affairs Beth Keck was reported as saying.
Wal-Mart has been attacked for poor labor and environmental standards in its factories, which are present in more than 60 countries 
Sherwood Bought Charnos
Intimate apparel company Sherwood Group has bought the brand and assets of lingerie business Charnos for a cash consideration of GBP585,000 (US$712,541).
Sherwood, which owns brands such as Lepel, Miss Lepel, and Ted 
Baker Intimates, bought the brand on March 17 from the 
administrators of Nelson I.A. Limited.
Sherwood is funding the buy through cash resources. 44 Charnos 
staff are moving to Sherwood along with general manager Shaeren 
Charnos is distributed to more than 500 customers in the UK. The 
company had sales of GBP4.3m in 2005, according to unaudited 
management accounts from Nelson. 
Nelson acquired the brand in 2002 for a goodwill consideration of 
GBP1m from Charnos Plc. 
Sherwood said it was “focused on becoming the leading provider of 
branded solutions in the intimate apparel sector”.
The company said: “The acquisition of the Charnos business acts as 
a perfect complement to the existing portfolio of brands and 
provides access to a greater number of independent retailers where 
Charnos has a higher penetration than current Sherwood brands. 
       Allure Leather     
WTO Textile Talks Continue
A number of textile trade associations have rallied round in support of a request tabled by Turkey last week urging for separate textile and clothing negotiations within the WTO’s Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) talks.
However, US and EU apparel retailers, manufacturers and importers say the move could undermine the growth potential of textile exporting countries and resurrect the special protection for this sector that was only eliminated a year ago.
Turkey called a special WTO NAMA meeting in Geneva on March 23, asking for the sectoral measure, fearing that a new world trade deal that aggressively cuts tariffs on all manufactured goods would penalize many developing countries. 
If given the green light, a sectoral discussion would allow WTO members to negotiate different treatment for textiles and clothing as part of a world trade pact that countries hope to finish by the end of the year. In contrast, other products would be covered by a general formula of tariff reductions. 
ITKIB Association USA (a coalition of Turkish textile and clothing trade associations), the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, and the National Council of Textile Organizations all endorsed the proposal.
Cass Johnson, president of the National Council of Textile Organizations, said large portions of global trade in textiles and clothing would be destabilized if textiles are not addressed in a sectoral manner.
“Substantial export markets in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, North Africa, the Middle East, and least-developed Asian countries will be destroyed,” he said. “A sectoral for textiles and clothing is the only way to allow for true market liberalization to occur for developing countries.”
Mexico's national textile trade association Cámara Nacional de la Industria Textil is also supporting the Turkish effort. 
Citing the impact of quota removal in certain apparel categories in the EU and the United States the groups say China now monopolizes the market, with an import share of 67% in the US and 74% in the European Union. The next highest share is Thailand with 2.5%. 
But a letter sent by the American Apparel & Footwear Association, National Retail Federation, Retail Industry Leaders Association, United States Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel, Travel Goods Association and EuroCommerce to WTO ambassadors of textile importing countries suggests that sectoral initiatives should open, rather  than close, markets.
“Elimination of trade barriers in textiles, like all other goods, has been and will continue to be essential to the growth of the global trading system and the economic prosperity of both developed and developing countries.
“Being part of the world trading system, rather than the exception that operates outside the system, is what will provide your industries with the opportunities to grow."

Another Bangladesh Factory
About 44 workers were hurt after a knitwear factory in Bangladesh’s 
second city Chittagong caught fire March 21.
The cause of the fire, which damaged some of the contents of the unidentified six-story factory, is as yet unknown.
The incident follows another recent Chittagong factory blaze, which killed about 55 people and left another 100 injured.
In addition, three garment workers were killed in a recent fire-related stampede, and about 25 were killed when a factory collapsed.

American Eagle Expands
  Plant & Creates Jobs
American Eagle Outfitters said it will grow its distribution center in Ottawa, Kansas, creating up to 300 new jobs in five years.
The company plans to begin the project on April 5, and hopes to start operations in the expanded part of the plant by April next year. 
If the work goes according to plan, 190 workers will be taken on by next spring. 250 people currently work at the plant, which distributes apparel and accessories to 400 stores but will also handle all internet sales after its expansion.


Will Jones Apparel Sell
Jones Apparel Group said it is exploring a possible sale of the company but said it is not considering divesting any of its businesses or divisions.
Jones said: “There can be no assurance that any sale transaction will occur.”
The company has retained Goldman, Sachs & Co to assist in this process. It does not expect to disclose any developments unless and until its board of directors has approved a definitive transaction or a decision not to proceed with a sale.
Recent rumors had pinpointed Jones’ Nine West and accessories business as an asset it might be looking to sell off Jones Apparel’s brands include Jones New York, Evan-Picone, Norton McNaughton, Gloria Vanderbilt, Erika, l.e.i., Energie, Nine West, Easy Spirit, Enzo Angiolini, Bandolino, Joan & David, Mootsies Tootsies, Sam & Libby, Napier, Judith Jack, Kasper, Anne Klein, Albert Nipon, Le Suit and Barneys New York.

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