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Vietnam's Export Plans
Page 1

TJX Paying for Hacking Scam
Page 1

Bra Eco-factory
Page 1

Vietnamese Workers Strike
Page 1

The International Lingerie Show
Page 2

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The American Red Cross

     June 1, 2007                                        Issue #194


21/24

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Vietnam Plans $12bn in 
Apparel Exports by 2010
Vietnam plans to increase its annual garment exports to $10-12bn by 2010, and is calling for more foreign investment to help the sector meet its goals. 
The rise would represent growth of up to $4.65m on this year's export target of $7.35bn, and an even heftier increase over last year's export shipments of $5.8bn.
Le Quoc An, chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association said that Vietnam's industry also needs to raise the locally made content in products to 50%.
Eight programs to develop the textile and garment industry will be launched between now and 2010. 
They will include projects to raise local textile production and reduce reliance on yarn and fiber imports, and the setting up of fashion centers nationwide.
In the first four months of this year, Vietnam's apparel exports rose 32% to $2.19bn. Full year exports are expected to be 25% ahead of last year. 
The US is the biggest export market for Vietnam, taking more than half its apparel exports, followed by the EU and Japan.


10/24  

UK April Retail Sales Down
UK retail sales in April fell for the first time in three months according to figures revealed by the Office for National Statistics. 
Sales fell 0.1% after a 0.5% gain in March, amid signs of rising prices and the impact of four interest-rate increases since August.
Price rises were highest at food stores, textiles, clothing and footwear, the report showed.

              
March Playboy Playmate - Tyran Richard models Shirley
of Hollywood at the International Lingerie Fashion Show
         at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas April 16-18.
                     Photo by Jerome Hamilton


17/24   
Sri Lanka Revises Garment
        Workers' Wages
The latest wage revision for garment factory workers in Sri Lanka has raised basic salaries from around LKR4,500 (US$ 40.9) to LKR6,000 (UD$ 54.5), as of May 1.
The wage rise included an increase of the minimum wage to LKR5,000 and an additional LKR1,000 under the Budgetary Relief Allowance law of 2005.
Garment factories said the cost of the wage increase will be much higher than the stipulated amount.
The factories said workers are already recruited at salaries above the basic wage and, in addition, companies are required under Sri Lankan labor law to contribute to employee welfare through schemes like the Employee's Trust Fund.
"The cost will be more because in addition to the salary increase we pay overtime and ETF calculated on the basic salary," explained the chairman of the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporter's Association, Noel Priyatilake.
"Anyway, garment workers are paid well above the basic minimum wage," he continued. "This is because they are paid on a two tier system of the basic wage plus a variable component made up of incentives like attendant bonus, meals, transport and so on. So factories spend something like LKR11,000 per worker."
Trade unions said the salary increase is inadequate given the rate of inflation in Sri Lanka.
In March, the unions threatened an island-wide token protest unless the government agreed to an immediate salary increase for private sector workers. 
The garment industry is one of the biggest private sector employers in Sri Lanka providing direct employment to nearly 300,000 people. 
Although garment factories have been protesting against the wage increase, Sri Lanka's labor ministry said it is preparing a notice to enforce the latest wage revisions from this month.


14/24              Photographed by Michael Brouwer


              TJX Still Paying for 
          Hacking Scam
Costs associated with TJX Companies' computer intrusions exacted just enough of a toll on first quarter earnings to pull them below last year's levels.
In the 13 weeks ended April 28, net income fell 1% to US$162.1m from $163.8m. Earnings per diluted share were steady at $0.34 in both periods.
The 2007 quarter includes an after-tax charge of $12m, or $0.03 a share, related to the hacking scandal announced by the Framingham, Massachusetts-based off-price in January.
Net sales grew 6.1% to $4.11bn from $3.87bn in the 2006 quarter and were up 2% on a comparable-store basis. 
Calling the results "squarely within our expectations," Carol Meyrowitz, president and CEO said: "We achieved these results despite comparable-store sales that were slightly below plan, which we attribute to the unseasonably cold and wet weather in many US regions during March and early April."
She described current business trends as strong and noted that TJX is "positioned extremely well to take advantage of the abundant off-price buying opportunities in spring apparel and other categories currently in the marketplace."
TJX expects second quarter earnings per diluted share from continuing operations to hit $0.29 to $0.32, including intrusion-related charges. Comps are expected to grow 3% to 4%.
At the end of the quarter, TJ Maxx operated 830 stores, Marshalls 763, Winners 185, HomeSense 69, HomeGoods 271, TK Maxx 211, AJ Wright 127 and Bob's Stores 35. 

              
6/12
Bangladesh Worker Killed 
             in Riots
The Bangladesh garment industry has been hit by a series of protests  over low wages and poor working conditions A garment factory worker in Bangladesh has been killed in riots and  many people have been injured.
It was reported that the female employee worked for Fortuna Apparels  Ltd and was reportedly shot as riots broke out.
As many as 60 others, including police officers, were injured in clashes arising from payment disputes at a factory outside the  capital Dhaka. The police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at some  of the thousand protesters that took to the streets.
In October last year nearly 200 people were injured when garment  workers in Bangladesh staged street protests over a new minimum wage  deal.


12/24

Zambia to Ax 1000 Workers
More than 1000 workers are set to lose their jobs at Zambia's largest textile company which is to close indefinitely after failing to compete with cheaper textile imports from China. 
The Zambia China Mulungushi Textiles company, which is jointly owned by the Chinese and the Zambian government, shut down production in January after suffering prolonged losses.
Now redundancy notices have been sent to all workers at the plant in Kabwe, about 150km north of the capital Lusaka, who will lose their jobs from June 30.
The factory was set up three decades ago with direct foreign investment funds from China, and grew to become the biggest textile mill in Zambia - employing more than a thousand people and making 17m meters of fabric a year and 100,000 pieces of clothing.
There has been no indication whether or not Zambia China Mulungushi Textiles will be re-opened. 


22/24

2500 Vietnamese Workers 
                Strike
Around 2,500 workers have gone on strike at a South Korean-owned garment factory in southern Vietnam in a row over pay.
According to news reports, workers want their monthly salaries to be increased from VND870,000 (US$54) to VND1.1m (US$69).
Lee Seong Jin, vice general director of Shin SungVina company in Long An province said the increase would match raises recently given to 30 workers who were promoted to more skilled jobs.


7/12
      Model Health Inquiry
The British Fashion Council has outlined how it plans to investigate the health of models walking the catwalk at September's London Fashion Week through its independent Model Health Inquiry.
Baroness Denise Kingsmill, chairman of the inquiry, has confirmed the scope, panel members, submission process and timetable for its inquiry.
The inquiry was established by the British Fashion Council in March, and will be supported by the London Development Agency, Marks & Spencer and The Work Foundation. 
A statement said that the inquiry would establish the extent of any health issues, in particular those relating to size, the casting and selection process of models, the approach taken by other fashion capitals, and offer guidelines for action which might be taken by employers.
Members of the inquiry panel include founder of Storm Model Management Sarah Doukas, British fashion designer Betty Jackson and British model Erin O'Connor.
The panel said it would gather information over the next few weeks, with the submission of final report to the British Fashion Council in July and the publication of final report in September.
Baroness Kingsmill, a former deputy chairman of the Competition Commission, said: "The creative industries in the UK make a significant contribution to our competitiveness in the global economy. 
"Fashion is one of the most important of these underpinning a large part of the retail industry, tourism and design. It also provides a major leisure activity for women. 
"It is important therefore that we take the lead in debating the issues surrounding size and health on the catwalk, particularly at London Fashion Week which is a showcase for the industry and for London.
"I have brought together an advisory panel of leaders in the industry who will help me to examine the most important health and safety issues and in particular those related to size. We look forward to receiving contributions from all sides in this debate."

           
3/12

MAS To Build Bra Eco-factory
Sri Lanka's MAS Holdings is to start building a 'green plant' to produce bras for UK retailer Marks & Spencer.
"This is a MAS investment of about US$6m to cater purely for M&S. It will come under the management of MAS Intimates, headed by Mr. Dian Gomes," said Mr. Ushaan Abeywickrema, general manager, Model Green Plant, MAS Intimates. 
"We will start construction in the beginning of June this year and we hope to begin commercial production by the end of 2007. M&S will fund us on technical areas like harnessing solar power and design aspects." 
The green manufacturing plant will be located at the MAS Fabric Park in Thulhiriya, about 36 miles from the country's capital Colombo. 
MAS Holdings says the green plant project is in keeping with M&S plans to become carbon neutral by 2012. 
In March, at the 85th Textile Institute World Conference held in Colombo, Mr. Krishan Hundal, head of general merchandise technology at M&S, indicated plans for a green plant and increased Fairtrade sourcing from Sri Lanka.
"This country is already making inroads in terms of green production and has very strong labor standards recognized by the EU. We are already producing Fairtrade garments in Sri Lanka from Fairtrade cotton grown in India and Africa," said Mr. Hundal.
MAS says it will pilot the M&S carbon neutral program in the Asian region. 
To do this, the new green plant will be designed to conserve energy and natural resources and will focus on waste management to reduce environmental impacts, says MAS. 
The factory will use rain water harvesting techniques to meet a portion of its water requirements, solar power and other renewable energy sources to generate electricity and will use natural light and low-energy cooling systems instead of air-conditioning. 
"Since we don't want to disturb the natural environment we will even build the factory on stilts," said Mr. Abeywickrema. "The building will be surrounded by local vegetation to reduce impact on the environment and to keep the factory cool."



2/6
Hot Topic Reduces Q1 Loss
Struggling retailer Hot Topic reported a reduction in its first quarter losses and forecast a nearly break-even performance in the second quarter.
In the 13 weeks ended May 5, the net loss came to US$809,000, or $0.02 a diluted share, versus a loss of $1.4m, or $0.03, in the year ago quarter.
As previously reported, net sales grew 2.1% to $157.3m from $154m in the 2006 quarter as same-store sales declined 2.3%.
Gross margin improved to 32.8% of sales from 31.3% in the year-ago quarter.
Expecting a same-store sales decline in the mid-single digits, the City of Industry, California-based specialty group issued guidance of a loss in the range of $0.02 to $0.04, including expected charges of $0.02 to $0.03 for stores that would be closed in advance of lease expirations. 
At the end of the first quarter, the company operated 695 Hot Topic stores and 131 Torrid units specializing in plus-size apparel for young women. It remodeled or relocated 17 Hot Topic stores during the period.


1/3
Elderly Man's Confession
An elderly man walks into a confessional. The following conversation ensues:
Man: "I am 92 years old, have a wonderful wife of 70 years, many children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Yesterday, I picked up two college girls, hitchhiking. We went to a motel, where I had sex with each of them three times."
Priest: "Are you sorry for your sins?"
Man: "What sins?"
Priest: "What kind of a Catholic are you?"
Man: "I'm Jewish."
Priest: "Why are you telling me all this?"
Man: "I'm 92 years old. I'm telling everybody."


 
                             
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