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April 15, 2009
The McPete Sez Lingerie Newsletter & Women's
EU Eco-Label Revised
Reforms have been approved by the European Parliament for a revised
European Union (EU)-wide eco-label system on the use of environmentally damaging chemicals, making it tougher for clothing and
textile producers to secure.
An informal agreement with EU ministers means that parliament's decision in the beginning of April will probably fast-track the
changes through the EU legislative machine.
Another change would see a requirement for companies to reduce animal testing to secure an eco-label.
These rules would impact on textile and clothing producers who are already able to apply for and receive an EU eco-label (whose logo is a
plant with a flower comprising the EU's ring of stars).
This would continue, albeit with the tougher standards, which MEPs claim have also been simplified to ease red tape burdens.
"The overall objective of the proposed regulation is to promote products with a reduced environmental impact through the use of [this]
voluntary scheme," said a parliamentary communiqué.
Organic Cotton Sales
Sales of organic cotton were up 63% to an estimated US$3.2bn in 2008,
but the market is facing a glut as demand fails to keep pace with production, a new report suggests.
According to the Organic Cotton Market Report 2007-2008, released by non-profit
organization Organic Exchange (OE), most brands and retailers remain upbeat about the prospects for market growth, despite
the current downturn.
Naming a top ten of organic cotton-using brands including Wal-Mart, C&A, Nike, H&M and Zara, the report said brands and retailers expected
to expand their product lines by 24% and 33% in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
That would create a market worth $4bn in 2009 and $5.3bn in 2010.
"It is a sign of the times that despite ominous financial forecasts, brands and retailers are standing fast to their commitment to making
their product lines more sustainable by ever increasing their use of organic cotton and other organic
fibers such as wool, linen and silk," said LaRhea Pepper, OE senior director.
However, global farmed production of organic cotton was up 152% in 2007/8, according to the OE's Organic Cotton Farm and
Fiber Report 2008, while certified organic cotton fiber supplies increased by 95%.
"Farmers who planted on speculation or expanded without market partners may have shifted the market into a state of oversupply in
2009," said Pepper, who strongly discouraged farmers from taking this kind of risk.
"Brands may want to explore opportunities for expanding their organic
programs with their business partners, as for the first time in many years, supplies of organic
fiber, yarns and fabrics are more available than in previous years."
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Ethical Clothing Sales Up
Sales of ethical clothing have more than quadrupled in the last five
years as British shoppers seek out fair-trade products, according to new research.
In its report 'Ethical Clothing UK,' Mintel says the market was worth GBP175m (US$261m) in 2009, helped by more retailers selling ethical
clothing and the introduction of more fashionable styles.
And crucially, it also believes future growth prospects look bright for the sector, and says adverse economic conditions are likely to
have only muted effects on the ethical clothing sector.
"Existing buyers are tied by emotional attachment to ethical practices, while more exciting ranges and improved availability are
further stimulating sales. This will increasingly attract new buyers," the report says.
"Growth in ethical clothing is being driven by consumer demand for fairly produced and sustainable goods, which is being met by growing
numbers of fashion-led independents, and now some high street majors," said Katrin Magnussen, senior retail analyst at Mintel.
"The participation of mainstream retailers is vital to extending awareness and availability and significant numbers of mainstream
retailers now include organic and fair trade products in their ranges."
However, despite doing well, not everyone has been hit by the ethical bug.
According to consumer research by Mintel, around a third (35%) of Brits still have no interest in ethical clothing.
Price is seen as a barrier by some otherwise willing buyers, with almost a quarter (23%) saying they would buy it if they could afford
to. A fifth (20%) complain about lack of availability and one in ten (11%) has doubts over the veracity of
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Kohl's Opens 11 New Stores
Retailer Kohl's Department Stores is adding 11 new stores to its
roster during April, completing a total of 19 new openings this spring.
The new outlets, which include the company's first foray into Alaska, are set to create nearly 3,000 jobs, with each new store location
requiring 130-150 new positions.
As well as the company's new store in Anchorage, Alaska, April openings include locations in Arizona, California, Florida, North
Carolina, New Jersey, New York and Utah.
March US Retail Sales Down
Total US retail sales fell 3.7% in the month of March, compared to the same month last year, according to the National Retail Federation.
The NRF said that several months of stronger-than-expected retail sales had provided hope that the industry was poised to bounce back, but that March retail sales demonstrate that the industry is continuing to struggle.
Retail industry sales for March (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) decreased 0.6%
seaso nally adjusted from February.
"A chilly start to spring and a late Easter combined for dreary March sales," said Rosalind Wells, chief economist for NRF. "To compensate for the Easter shift, retailers typically look at March and April together to get a better look at how their stores performed. Easter should give a much-needed boost to April sales."
The shift in Easter sales also played a role in consumer purchases of clothing and clothing accessories, NRF added. Sales at those stores decreased 1.8% seasonally adjusted from February and decreased 8.7% unadjusted over March 2008.
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