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Employment Losses
Page 1

Mannequins that Move & Monitor Customers
Page 1

Chinese Apparel Exports to US Jump 546%
Page 1

29.4% of 
Italian Textile Jobs Lost
Page 2

Smart Textiles Worth $64.4 Million
Page 2

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Talbots Q4 Earnings Fall 
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Funding To 
Stop Textile Smuggling
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Stewart & Lancaster Engaged 
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Ask Andy
Page 3

China to Regulate Exports
Page 4

Sara Lee to Set Up Subsidiary 
in India
Page 4

Thongs With Hindu Symbols Pulled 
Page 4

February Retailers' 
Sales Review
Page 5

PETA's Protest Protested With 
a Cheeseburger
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March 15, 2005                                              Issue #141


16/24

     Mcpete -Sez, 
    
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    Employment Losses in the  Textile & Apparel Industries
The pace of employment losses in the textile and apparel manufacturing sectors accelerated in the first two months of the year, as companies shed a total of 5,600 jobs in February and the Labor Department revised downward the January job losses by another 1200.
The government's employment report also revealed that the overall economy added 262,000 jobs in the month, the highest number since October, although the unemployment rate rose to 5.4% from  5.2% largely because more people entered the workforce looking for jobs but did not find them.
Economists blamed apparel and textile employment losses on the long-term shift to off shore production and imports. Apparel factories eliminated 2,600 positions in February to employ 267,100 people, a decline of 28,100 compared with a year ago. Textile mill employment fell 2,300 to 228,800 a drop of 11,500, while textile mill product employment declined by 700 to 177,500, but showed a gain of 2,400 against a year ago. 
Total textile and apparel employment is 673,400.  The employment report came as China safeguard petitions seeking to limit imports and save U.S. 
jobs are the subject of a federal lawsuit and injunction as well as a political debate over China's potential to dominate global apparel and textile production.
Charles McMillion, president and chief economist at MBG Information Services, stated "We had these kind of drops in 2003, which was a terrible year for the industry, but last year was a remarkably stable year,"
"The industry has been carrying very expensive unused capacity, roughly one-third of its capacity is unused, and with the elimination of quotas, there is not a lot of hope they will be able to use that capacity."
McMillion said this means companies likely will shut more plants and lay off more people.
In the retail sector, apparel and accessories stores added 6,800 jobs last month to employ 1.4 million. The number of jobs at general merchandise stores rose 10,400 to 2.9 million. 
Department stores added 4,000 workers to employ 1.6 million. 
Carl Steidtmann, chief economist at Deloitte Research, attributed the increase in employment to seasonal adjustments. "Retailers didn't hire 
during the holiday season, so not as many people had to be laid off," Steidtmann said. "As a result that shows up a seasonally adjusted basis 
as a gain."
In the overall U.S. economy, the job gains were primarily in service industries. Overall manufacturing employment bounced back by 20,000 
in February, following a loss of 25,000 jobs in January and 7,000 in December.
                                                                   

6/24  

Mannequins That Move and
   Monitor Customers

Japanese company Flower Robotics Inc has launched a moveable shop mannequin that can strike a pose for customers at the same time as monitoring them for marketing purposes.
The mannequin, code-named Palette, senses the nearest person’s position and changes its stance, which the company says makes the clothes the dummy is wearing look more attractive.
The faceless dummy strikes poses based on those of supermodels, which it copies using motion-capture technology.
Flower Robotics, which developed Palette with software company SGI Japan Ltd, also plans to program the mannequins to record information 
such as the sex and age of visitors to the store, as well as details such as the bags they are carrying. This data will then be passed to the stores.
The mannequin should go on sale later this year. 



13/24   
         Chinese Apparel Exports 
Jump 546% to US in January

According to Chinese Customs data, exports of major apparel products from China into the US market increased by an average of 546% in January 2005 over January 2004.
The figures, which show the impact of China’s release from quota control as a result of joining the World Trade Organization, also highlight the fact that Chinese prices have fallen by as much as 45%. 
The largest export increases were in cotton knit shirts and trousers, which were up 1,836% and 1,332% respectively.  China shipped nearly 27 million cotton trousers last month, up from 1.9 million in January 2004, when China was still under quota control. China also shipped 18 million cotton knit shirts in January, compared to 941 thousand knit shirts in January 2004. 
According to Chinese export figures, January 2005 prices for cotton knit shirts from China were down 45% and cotton trousers were down 28%. The average price decline in January for all the safeguard categories was 25%. 
China’s surge comes in eight product groups that represent the major employment and production sectors of the US yarn and fabric industry. 
The US industry has asked the US government to initiate safeguard actions against China in these categories in order to prevent large job losses. 
Threat-based safeguard petitions filed by the industry last year have been stalled by a legal challenge. 

             
 A model presents a creation by designer Regina Reyna as 
part of her Autumn/Winter 2005 collection show during the 
                Mexico Fashion week in Mexico City.
  

2/12 
    WTO Rules Against US' 
         Cotton
Subsidised
The US cotton program was thrown into doubt after the Geneva-based World Trade Organization ruled that American cotton growers are unfairly subsidised and that federal aid such as export guarantees, subsidies and crop payments violates international trade agreements.
The ruling means the United States must change its cotton program or risk facing trade sanctions.
The WTO was acting on a complaint filed by Brazil in 2003 alleging that US government subsidies, paid to 25,000 cotton farmers, drove down world prices and made it harder for other countries to compete.
Brazil said the US Agriculture Department paid $12 billion in subsidies to American cotton farmers from 1999 to 2002, and that despite higher production costs US farmers still undercut their cheaper competitors.
The WTO ruling is final. It follows an appeal lodged by Washington against an original decision favoring a Brazilian complaint against the subsidies.
In its appeal, the United States said USDA payments to farmers are within permitted levels because many are not subsidies as defined by the WTO. The WTO rejected that argument.
"We will study the (WTO) report carefully and work closely with Congress and our farm community on our next steps," said Richard Mills, spokesman for the US Trade Representative's office.



3/3
               111 Jobs Axed When Maidenform Closes US Plant
Intimate apparel maker Maidenform Inc is shutting its last US production facility in July as part of a multi-year restructuring of its manufacturing operations.
“Our Jacksonville {Fla] facility exclusively served operations in Puerto Rico and Mexico," Maidenform said in a statement. ”We closed our plant in Puerto Rico in 1998, and will phase out our operations in Mexico this 
year.” 
Maidenform said it is offering retraining opportunities to the plants 111 workers through the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation


         
4/12
                Peta Attacks Again
Animal rights activists from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have lashed out at fashion labels Tommy Hilfiger and Sean John for allegedly using fur obtained by skinning animals alive.
PETA members campaigned against the use of the Chinese fur outside the Macy’s department store in New York, playing videos of Chinese ‘fur farms.’
The protesters referred to a study released last week by the the Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan and Swiss Animal Protection that showed mistreatment of animals such as foxes and raccoons in China.
PETA said that because the use of real fur in clothing remains controversial, manufacturers have been trying to smuggle it back on cheap 
imports.

Shoe Carnival Posted Q4 
        Sales Increase
Value-priced footwear retailer Shoe Carnival Inc has posted fourth-quarter sales gains after embarking on a multi-faceted improvement 
strategy.
Fourth-quarter net sales rose 7.2% to $143.9 million from $134.2m last year, while same-store sales increased 1.4%.
Net earnings for the fourth quarter grew to $1.2m from earnings of $111,000 in the same quarter last year.
For the full 2004 financial year, sales rose 5.8% to $590.2m from sales of $557.9m in 2003, while same-store sales fell 0.8%.
Net earnings for 2004 increased to $12.5m from $12.0m in 2003.
Mark Lemond, president and chief executive officer, said that the financial 2004 year had been “a year of change” and that the company had slowed down growth to concentrate on store openings solely in current markets and geographical areas.
Lemond added that Shoe Carnival’s main focus had been on improving stores’ operating performance 
by “enhancing the fashion content”, improving advertising methods and setting up a strategy to update store design.
The company predicts a sales increase of 7%-10% for the 2005 financial year, with a same-store growth of between 2% and 4%.
Shoe Carnival sells dress and casual shoes, sandals, boots and an assortment of athletic shoes for men, women and children with emphasis 
on national and regional name brands.

           Wrong thing to say...
This married couple was sitting in a fine restaurant when the wife looks over at a nearby table and sees a man in a drunken stupor.
The husband asks "I notice you've been watching that man for some time now. Do you know him?"
"Yes" she replies, "He's my ex-husband, and has been drinking like that since I left him seven years ago."
"That's remarkable" the husband replies, "I wouldn't think anybody could celebrate that long."
Services for him will be held at 2:30pm Saturday at Forever Green Mortuary


 

                      
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