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Worry Over Child Labor
UK Retailers Confident for Christmas
Sri Lanka's Tariff Proposals
The International Lingerie
Halloween In December
Buyers' Best Sellers
Export Awards Adds Textile Category
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Ann Summers' XXXmas Ads Upset Some
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December 15, 2009
The McPete Sez Lingerie Newsletter & Women's
Buyers Worry Over Child
Confirmation from Vietnam officials last month of child labor allegations in smaller Saigon garment factories are a serious worry
for Western apparel buyers.
The problem seems rife in what is the toughest part of the apparel manufacturing chain to monitor: smaller factories that mostly do
emergency subcontracting for the bigger plants Western buyers deal with.
"The honesty and transparency of Vietnamese labor officials about the allegations are praiseworthy", says Mike Flanagan, editor of The
Source, the Clothesource monthly review of apparel sourcing trends.
"But they're admitting child labor is widespread among smaller Saigon garment factories - the sort who regularly do emergency
subcontracting work for the big - and child labor-free - factories European and US buyers regularly contract with".
"That's a serious worry for Western buyers. They need to be extra vigilant about their procedures for monitoring Vietnamese
sub-contractors - and that's just about the toughest part of the manufacturing chain to
But The Source contrasts the honesty of Vietnamese officials with denials from Uzbekistan over the use of forced child
labor in its cotton fields - and the difficulty buyers have in dealing with it.
"Most reputable Western brands and retailers now boycott Uzbek products," says Flanagan.
"But it's a great deal harder for them to determine whether garments bought from China and India contain Uzbek cotton.
"There's still a difference, though: buyers might find child labor's been involved in garments made in Saigon. But any garment made from
Uzbek cotton is certain to have used forced child labor."
A model presents Western
Fashion at the
International Lingerie Fashion Show in Las Vegas.
Photo by Jerome Hamilton.
UK Retailers Confident For
A snapshot survey of UK retailers suggests they are convinced that
this Christmas will be no worse than last year, the British Retail Consortium
But they are also concerned that sales in the New Year will be harmed by the increase in the VAT rate to 17.5%, which the Chancellor has
confirmed for January 1.
"There's some good news here but we're not out of trouble yet," said BRC director general Stephen Robertson.
"I'm reassured that retailers are more confident about their prospects this Christmas but remember the comparison is with dramatic
sales falls last year.
"There are more customers willing and able to spend now but, for many retailers, it's taking even more discounts to persuade them to buy."
42% of retailers responding to the BRC's Christmas Trading Snapshot Survey said this Christmas will be better than last year's.
The other 58% said sales would be the same as 2008, and none of the respondents thought sales will be worse.
Almost half of retailers expect greater discounting in the run-up to this Christmas; only a quarter expect less.
And 53% believe December's sales will be boosted by customers bringing their purchases forward to beat January's VAT increase.
"The impact of the VAT increase is a concern for half the respondents but other clouds are gathering. Customers are cautious. Jobs are a
big worry and neither will be helped by the tax-battering promised by the Chancellor," Robertson added.
Tia Lyn's NY Fashion Show with beautiful models of ALL SIZES!
Sri Lanka's Tariff Proposals
Sri Lanka's director-general of commerce, Gomi Senadhira, says a
draft blueprint on how to slash tariffs - yet to be agreed in the World Trade Organisation sponsored Doha
liberalization talks - for industrial goods would put his country at "a disadvantage" in the US
market compared to developing nation beneficiaries.
At present, apparel tariffs in the US start at around 10% and go to about nearly 30%, Senadhira said. "While we are paying these very
high rates, most of our competitors from Central America CAFTA member countries and from Africa, such as Mauritius, for example, have
duty-free access," he added.
Sri Lanka, which does not benefit from US apparel preferences, but which exports to the US similar apparel lines, would be adversely
affected by a WTO deal on preference erosion, trade analysts estimate.
Under the adjustment terms, the time frame for lowering US tariffs on 29 apparel categories that are of vital export importance for
preferential access beneficiary nations, would be over ten years.
Sri Lanka, which does not benefit from US apparel preferences, but which exports to the US similar apparel lines, and will be impacted
under the adjustment terms, would have duties reduced by the US on five sensitive apparel categories, including knitted sweaters,
pullovers, men's or boys trousers and shorts, women's or girls trousers, men's or boys shirts, and brassieres.
Senadhira said this is not enough and stressed Sri Lanka wants fast track access for all the sensitive product lines.
In 2008, Sri Lanka's apparel exports to the US were valued at $1.6bn, down 5% on the year before, according to WTO statistics.
Retailers and brands are preparing to offer more clothing in larger
sizes for both men and women after the results of a size survey of the German population showed consumers are getting bigger and taller.
The changes in body measurements, market shares and garment sizes are highlighted by a survey, called 'SizeGermany' - a joint project
between the Hohenstein Institute international textile research center and Human Solutions GmbH, which makes body scanning equipment.
Between July 2007 and October 2008, it took the measurements of 13,362 men, women and children ranging from 6 to 87 years of age.
The results show the body dimensions of Germany's population have changed markedly since the last comprehensive measurements were taken
in 1994 (for women) and 1980 (for men).
Women, for example, are around 1.0cm taller and have a bust measurement that is 2.3cm bigger than before. Their waists have
increased by 4.1cm and their hips by 1.8cm.
And because today's consumers are taller and larger -more and more people are having problems finding garments to fit them.
The body measurements gathered in the course of the SizeGermany project will be used to update the Hohenstein Sizing Chart, which
sets out 44 measurements on which garment manufacturers base their sizes.
More than 100 apparel and automotive companies have helped finance the project in return for exclusive access to results of the
Pakistan Textile Makers
Cotton Export Ban
Workers at a number of textile plants in Pakistan have taken strike
action in protest against cotton yarn exports from the country.
Plant owners and workers held protest rallies against cotton price hikes and shortage of cotton yarns in domestic yarn markets.
In addition, 14 textile associations organized a "Save Textile" convention in Faisalabad on Tuesday, demanding the Pakistan
government impose a ban on the export of cotton yarns from the country
Addressing the convention, chairman of the Pakistan Apparel Forum (PAF) Javed Bilwani said that if the situation remained the same then
2m textile sector workers would become jobless. They are also expected to knock the door of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to get
the uninterrupted export of cotton yarn banned.
Anwar Ahmed Tata, chairman of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association
(APTMA) said that yarn is available in sufficient quantity for the domestic value-added textile sectors, and that the
growing agitation of the domestic market and a ban on export of cotton yarns had no grounds.
Yarn prices in Pakistan's domestic yarn markets have jumped by 30% during last six months due to increased cotton yarn shipments to
T-shirt and underwear maker Hanesbrands Inc is considering
acquisitions after refinancing its debt to give it more flexibility to focus on growing its business.
The Winston-Salem, North Carolina based company, whose brands include Playtex, Champion, Wonderbra and Hanes, said its new debt terms allow
it to target takeovers in the $200m to $300m range.
Previously it was restricted to acquisitions of $100m annually.
The company said any potential acquisitions would be in core apparel essentials categories, involve minimal integration risk, generate
cost synergies, and provide revenue opportunities.
Hanesbrands also reaffirmed earlier forecasts that it expects sales to rise by 5% in 2010 - an extra $200m - from shelf-space gains.
The refinancing gives the company more flexibility in its use of excess cash flow and allows it to continue to pay off its debts.
The company used the proceeds of the $500m notes offering and borrowings from its new $1.15bn credit facilities to repay other
It said its goal is to reduce debt by $300m in 2009, which would reduce interest expense by $20m to $25m next year.
Another $300m of debt reduction in 2010 would deliver a similar cut in interest expense in 2011.
"We have worked diligently over the past three years to create a new
Hanesbrands, an apparel essentials powerhouse with strong cash flow, flexible capital structure,
re-energized brands and a low-cost global supply chain," said chairman and chief executive officer Richard A
"The combination of our brand power and supply-chain competitiveness gives us the potential to expand market share around the world
through organic growth, retailer partnerships, enhanced shelf space, improved channel penetration, distribution expansion, and
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