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Trade Groups Push for Burma Import Ban Renewal
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Intimate Apparel Sales in Russia Soar
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May Retailers' Sales Review
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April International Lingerie Show
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The American Red Cross

  July 1, 2008                                           Issue #220


23/24

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       Trade Groups Push for
Burma Import Ban Renewal
US trade groups are calling on Congress to renew an import ban on products from Burma which is due to expire on July 26.
Citing continued human rights abuses in Burma, the American Apparel & Footwear Association believes "it is more important than ever" that the US continues to implement economic sanctions against Burma.
AAFA president and CEO Kevin M. Burke says: "I hope the world community will join the United States in implementing economic sanctions to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Burmese government that humanity will not stand idly by as the junta oppresses the people of Burma."
Burke has written a series of letters to the Congressional sponsors of legislation that seeks to renew for another year the import ban contained in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003. 
The US has imposed an import ban on Burma since 2003, after the country was cited by numerous organizations and governments for widespread human rights violations. 
Most recently, the response of the Burmese government greatly exacerbated the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis.

            
A model wears a crochet swimsuit by Musotica Wear during
the International Lingerie Fashion show on April 7, 2008 at   
             the Rio, Las Vegas.  Photo by Studio Time
See more photos from the International Lingerie Fashion
                                 Show on page 5


19/24   
Intimate Apparel Sales in
           Russia Soar
The amount of retail selling space devoted to bras, underwear, sleepwear and swimwear in Russia has more than doubled over the last three years according to newly published research, with annual growth of 20% forecast until 2011.
Between spring 2005 and spring 2008, the country's lingerie retail trade has grown from 900 to 1,800 specialist stores, and revenues have soared to US$2.5bn from $1.26bn.
Sales of women's intimate apparel last year rose by 9% to EUR200m (US$312m).
There are currently around 82,000 square meters of lingerie retail space in Russia, as the country's largest cities jump onto the bandwagon.
But Moscow's share of Russia's lingerie retail space has fallen from 70% in 2005 to around 40% says the study, which was carried out by Stuttgart-based ITMM GmbH on behalf of trade fair organizer Igedo Company.
The reasons for this growth include rising disposable incomes, heavy investment in the construction of new shopping centers, and more fashionable designs.
Russian intimate apparel retailers have also diversified into specialized shops dedicated to men's underwear, large sizes or petites, and swim and 
beachwear. 
New specialty shops and chains include 'VI Legion' or 'XO' for men's underwear, and 'Bikini, Bikini Boom and Jemini which focus on swimwear.
According to industry executives like Alexander Fedorov, president of leading lingerie chain operator Wild Orchid Holding, the Russian lingerie market will continue to grow at an average annual rate of 20% until 2011.
This projection will apply in particular to the mid-priced sector, driven by provincial demand. 
Growth in the premium-to-luxury segment, however, is likely to be at lower rates, averaging 7%.


16/24              Photographed by Lawrence O. Brown

Pakistani Textile Workers Shot
At least seven workers sustained bullet injuries in Faisalabad, Pakistan, last week when gunmen opened fire on textile factory workers demonstrating for higher wages.
In retaliation, the workers pelted stones and torched another factory under the same management. 
Later, the laborers staged a sit-in for around eight hours outside the factory, demanding action against the factory owner.
Labour Qaumi Movement chairman Mian Qayyum said workers had been demanding their rights for weeks but that nobody was ready to listen to their grievances.
Punjab Labor Minister Ashraf Sohna also visited the site and assured the protesters that the government would not tolerate any aggression against workers.
In March this year the Pakistani government announced an increase in minimum wages for unskilled workers to PKR6000 (US$91) per month, but factory owners are still making payments to workers at the older rate of PKR4000 (US$61) per month.

 
 
May Retailers' Sales Review
Abercrombie & Fitch's net sales rose 8% to $233.1m from $215.0m, while comparable store sales decreased 1%. Total direct-to-consumer net sales increased 35% to $17.3m. Abercrombie & Fitch comparable store sales were up 6%, while those at Abercrombie fell 10%, Hollister Co were down 7%, and Ruehl dropped 24%.
Aéropostale Inc saw total net sales increase 16% to $102.3m in May, up from $88.1m last year. The company said same store sales increased 6% for the month, and that it continued to experience positive customer reaction to its summer merchandise.
American Apparel Inc said sales for stores open for more than 12 months increased 24% in May on a constant currency basis. Same-store sales were up 25%. The company operates 144 stores. 
American Eagle Outfitters Inc saw a slight increase in total sales during May, to $200.0m from $199.2m in the same period last year. Comparable store sales were down 9% for the month. The company said the results are consistent with recent expectations. 
The Bon-Ton Stores Inc said its total sales for the four weeks to May 31, dropped 8.7% to $214.3m from $234.7m. Same-store sales were down 9.9%. The retailer said its best performing businesses were ladies' spring outerwear, children's and cosmetics. 
The Buckle Inc said its net sales in May increased 44.1% $50.8m from $35.3m last year. Comparable store net sales, for stores open at least one year, rose 34.7%. Buckle operates 376 retail stores.
Cache's total net sales increased 6% in May to $23.3m. Same-store sales rose 5%, driven by regular price sales of its sportswear.
The Cato Corporation reported "better than expected" results in May, with total sales rising 6% to $80.5m. Comparable store sales for the month increased 2%. The company operates 1,329 Cato and It's Fashion stores.
Chico’s FAS Inc, operator of the Chico's, White House | Black Market and Soma Intimates chains, reported an 8.8% in sales to $141.4m from $155.0m. Comparable store sales dropped 16.9%. The company operates 1,063 stores.
Dillard’s Inc posted a 5% drop in total sales in May, to $499.69m from $527.93m a year earlier. Sales in comparable stores fell 7% for the four-week period. Sales of cosmetics and shoes were significantly above trend, it said. 
Gap Inc said its net sales fell 8% in May to $1.09bn from $1.19bn last year. Comparable store sales decreased 14%. By division, comparable store sales fell 7% at Gap North America, were down 5% at Banana Republic North America, and plunged 25% at Old Navy North America. International same-store sales were flat. The company said merchandise margins in May were significantly above last year.
Gottschalks Inc fell 8.5% in May to $42.4m from $46.4m. Same store sales decreased 8.6% from the prior year. The company said comparable store inventory was down 8% and that textiles and women's apparel were the most challenging categories.
Hot Topic Inc said its sales rose 5.0% to $47.4m, but that same-store sales fell 0.2%. By format, sales at its Torrid chain were up 17.5% and rose 1% at Hot Topic. Same-store sales at Torrid were down 0.8% and fell 0.1% at Hot Topic. 
JC Penney Company Inc said its total sales in May dropped 2.4% to $1.34bn from $1.38bn last year. Same-store sales fell 4.4% for the four-week period. The top performing merchandise divisions were family footwear and women's accessories, it said.
Kohl’s Corporation reported a 1.2% rise in sales during May, to $1.21bn from $1.19bn in the same month last year. On a comparable store basis, sales decreased 7.2%. The retailer operates 957 department stores.
Limited Brands Inc, operator of the Victoria’s Secret, Pink and La Senza chains, posted a 14.6% drop in net sales of $661.3m, down from $774.7m last year. Comparable store sales fell 6%. 
Mothers Work Inc may sales were essentially flat, rising just 0.2% to $54.2m from $54.1m in the same month last year. Comparable store sales increased 4.3%, but this gain was offset by lower sales at leased department and licensed locations. The company is due to close its 477 Sears leased departments by the end of June.
Nordstrom Inc reported a 12.2% rise in its sales during May, to $716m from $638m last year. Same-store sales increased 10.9%. 
Pacific Sunwear of California Inc said total PacSun sales for the four weeks of May were down 2% to $86.9m, from $88.5m during the same period last year. PacSun same-store sales dropped 3% during the month.
Saks Incorporated sales rose 8.7% in the month, to $227.2m from $248.9m, but same-store sales fell 8.7% for the period. Sales were hit by a spring clearance promotion, the company said. The strongest categories at Saks Fifth Avenue included men's contemporary apparel, shoes, and accessories.
Stage Stores Inc reported a 5.1% rise in total sales in May, up to $122.6m from $116.6m in the same period last year. Comparable store sales were up 0.1% and the strongest gains were in the cosmetics, children's, intimate apparel, dresses, footwear and petites categories. 
Stein Mart Inc's total sales fell 8.8% in May to $108.4m from $118.9m in the same month last year. Same-store sales were down 12.4%. The retailer said comparable stores sales of men's furnishings, ladies' dresses and ladies' accessories were better than the company trend, while gifts, linens and ladies' career were below trend. 
Target Corporation's net retail sales increased 5.5% to $4,564m from $4,325m, with May comparable store sales falling 0.7%. The retailer, which operates 1,613 Target stores, said this was in line with its planned range.
The TJX Companies Inc rose 2% in May, coming in at the high end of expectations. Total sales were $1.45bn, up 6% over the $1.37bn achieved during the prior-year period. The company operates 859 TJ Maxx, 787 Marshalls, 296 HomeGoods, and 132 AJ Wright stores in the US and 229 TK Maxx stores in Europe.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc posted a 9.8% jump in net sales for the four weeks to May 30, to $31.04bn from $28.26bn, with Wal-Mart stores up 7.8%, Sam's Club rising 7.3% and international sales soaring 16.6%. Total US same-store sales (minus the effect of fuel) rose 3.9%. The retailer said sales of seasonal categories dependent on weather - such as apparel - were soft. It also said international sales in May were strongest in the United Kingdom, Brazil and China. 
The Wet Seal Inc managed to deliver a 1.8% same-store sales increase at its namesake stores, but this was offset by a 15.1% decline at its Arden B chain. Total same-store sales at the fashion retailer fell 2% and its total sales were up 7.1% to $45.7m. The company says it is focusing on merchandise improvements at Arden B.
Zumiez Inc has posted a 14.7% jump in net sales for the four weeks to 31 to $26.0m, up from $22.7m in the same period last year. Comparable store sales increased 0.2%. The company operates 309 stores. 

                          
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