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US Textile Group Criticizes Inclusion of Vietnam in Trade Talks
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March 15, 2009
The McPete Sez
Lingerie Newsletter & Women's Wear Journal
US Textile Group Criticizes
Vietnam in Trade Talks
A US textile group has criticized the inclusion of Vietnam in the
proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement, whose first round of
negotiations is tentatively scheduled for this spring.
The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) says it will oppose any agreement that includes Vietnam - and wants the Obama
Administration to overturn the decision to include Vietnam in the talks.
The trade accord is aimed at promoting trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region, and partners include Singapore, Australia, New
Zealand, Peru, Chile, and Brunei.
However, Cass Johnson, president of NCTO, argues Vietnam is a non-market economy and proposes a threat to US manufacturers and their
He also believes the admission of Vietnam into the WTO in 2007 has "failed to produce the benefits that the Bush Administration had been
UK February Retail Sales
UK retail sales slid 1.8% in February by the British Retail Consortium
show, as snowy weather in the first week of the month and the end of January's clearances kept shoppers away.
Non-food sales fell further below their year-earlier level, with sales of women's and men's clothing seeing their worst month since April
On a total basis, sales rose just 0.1% in the four weeks to February 28 2009, compared with the same month last year.
"These are disappointing figures," said BRC director general Stephen Robertson. "It's now clear we were right to fear January's surprise
year-on-year sales rise was just a discount-driven blip.
"The short burst of spending unleashed by January clearances has largely vanished, replaced by sales as weak as most of last year."
He added that every non-food sector, apart from children's clothes, saw like-for-like sales down on a year ago.
Indeed, in the three months from December to February, like-for-like sales of non-food items such as clothing and footwear have fallen by
Helen Dickinson, head of retail at KPMG, said clothing sales dropped off again in the last week of the month following headlines about the
worsening economic outlook.
"Battling falling sales is not a sustainable prospect for many retailers in the non-food sectors, particularly as the impact of
rising import costs is also filtering through to their margins," she said.
February's sales slide comes after like-for-like retail sales in January rose by a surprise 1.1%, although sales of non-food items fell
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Hanesbrands to Reduce Debt
US apparel maker Hanesbrands has set a goal to reduce its long-term
debt in 2009 by at least US$300m.
The company has also successfully amended its first-lien credit agreement with debt holders. It applies to the company's $990m of Term
Loans A and B as well as its revolving credit facility.
"We had a very positive response to our credit amendment, approved by an overwhelming majority of debt holders," chairman and chief
executive officer Richard A Noll said.
"Resolving this issue puts us in good position to navigate this uncertain economic environment."
With a new interest-rate structure, the company expects net interest expense for 2009 to be $165m, compared with $155m in 2008.
Hanesbrands' debt reduction will be through cost reductions, product price increases, second-half commodity-cost benefits, reduced
capital- expenditure needs and plans to reduce inventory.
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Test to Check Allergenic
Potential in Textiles
Researchers in Germany have developed a lab test that can, for the
first time, assess the allergenic potential of unknown chemicals and combinations of substances found in textile products.
The simple selective in vitro cell culture test developed by scientists at the Institute for Hygiene and Biotechnology (IHB) at the
Hohenstein Institute identifies the skin-friendliness of components for which no
sensitization data is yet available.
Their research was carried out in response to fears that textile dyestuffs can trigger allergies.
However until now tests have only been able to check for substances that are known to be harmful, and don't pick up textile dyes or
chemicals whose allergenic potential is not yet known.
The test uses special immune cells which act like "guard cells" for the skin and trigger an immune response to allergens.
If they recognize that a substance released from the textile is alien to the body, they present the allergen together with specific marker
molecules on their cell surface.
From these marker molecules it is possible to identify the substance and classify it as an allergen.
The new test checks for allergens that cannot be identified in any other way - and manufacturers of products that are tested successfully
can use the Hohenstein quality label 'Skin-friendly - suitable for allergy sufferers'.
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February Retail Sales Review
For the four weeks to February 28, net sales at Abercrombie & Fitch tumbled 24% to $174.5m, down from $228.9m a year earlier. Comparable store sales slumped 30%. Total company direct-to-consumer net sales were down 17% to $14.1m. By chain, same-store sales at Abercrombie & Fitch fell 27%, decreased 34% at Abercrombie, dropped 33% at Hollister Co, and were also down 33% at
Aeropostale reported a 23% jump in total net sales in February. Sales rose to $109.9m from $89.7m. Same store sales increased 11% for the month.
American Apparel Inc said its total retail sales increased 17% for the month of February to $24.3m, up from $20.8m last year. Same-store sales fell 9%.
American Eagle Outfitters posted a 1% rise in total sales for February, to $177.2m from $175.1m last year. Comparable store sales were down 7% for the month. The company operates 953 American Eagle Outfitters stores, 116 Aerie by American Eagle stores, 28 Martin + Osa stores, and
77 kids By American Eagle.
For The Bon-Ton Stores, sales fell 7.8% to $200.2m in February, down from $217.0m in the same month last year. Same-store sales dropped 8.5%. The results were "in line with our expectations" at the company which operates the Bon-Ton,
Bergner's, Boston Store, Carson Pirie Scott, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's, Younkers and Parisian nameplates.
The Buckle bucked trends with a 27.5% hike in net sales for the four weeks to
February 28, to $63.3m from $49.6m a year earlier. Same-store sales increased 21.0%.
Warm weather boosted sales at value-priced women's wear retailer The Cato Corporation. For the month of February its sales were up 11% to $74.7m from $67.2m, and comparable store sales rose 8% over the prior year.
Destination Maternity's February sales were down 6.6% to $42.7m from $45.7m last year. Comparable store sales dropped 3.5%. The maternity wear retailer, which operates 1,090 retail locations, said it managed to lower inventory levels and markdowns and improved gross margins.
Gap Inc said its February sales fell 12% to $795m from $907m. The company's same-store sales were also down 12%, with declines in all divisions. Gap North America fell 12%, Banana Republic North America was down 16%, Old Navy North America dropped 13%, and International same-store sales were down 6%.
Hot Topic has posted a 13.7% rise in February sales to $57.3m at its Hot Topic and Torrid concepts. Sales climbed 13.8% to $44.1m at Hot Topic, and increased 13.4% to $13.2m at Torrid. Same-store sales were up 10.8%, the company said.
For the four weeks to February 28, sales at JCPenney Company dropped 7.2% to $1.17bn from $1.27bn in the prior year. Comparable store sales were down 8.8%. Women's apparel performed well according to the operator of 1,101 department stores.
Total sales at Kohl’s Corporation rose 3.6% percent to $1.006bn in February, up from $971.6m a year earlier. On a comparable store basis, sales fell 1.6%. The company, which operates 1,004 department stores, said regular price sales offset lower levels of clearance sales.
Limited Brands, operator of the Victoria’s Secret, La Senza and Henri Bendel stores, posted a 10.8% drop in sales for the four weeks to
February 28, down to $547.8m from $614.4m a year ago. Same-store sales dropped 7% for the period.
Macy’s reported total sales of $1.576bn for the four week period, down 9.3% from last year's $1.737bn. On a same-store basis, sales were down 8.5% in February. Online sales were up by 16.2%.
Nordstrom saw its sales fall 10.9% to $471m from $529m in February. Same-store sales were down 15.4%. The company operates 196 Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, and Jeffrey stores.
Ross Stores delivered "better-than-expected sales in February," with revenues up 7% to $476m from $444m. Comparable store sales grew 1%. Dresses and shoes were the best performing merchandise categories, the company said.
Saks Incorporated, operator of the Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks Off 5th stores, blamed weakness across all merchandise categories, particularly in women's apparel, for a 26.8% drop in owned sales. These dropped to $166.7m from $227.6m, while comparable store sales were down 26.0% for the month.
Stage Stores saw its total sales drop 4.7% to $100.9m in February, down from $105.9m in the same month last year. Comparable store sales fell 8.6%, which the company said was due to less clearance inventory. Dresses, intimate apparel, men's and petites categories all performed better than the company average.
Stein Mart said its February sales fell 12.5% in February to $84.1m from $96.1m in the same period last year. Same-store sales dropped 12.2%. The best performing businesses were ladies' casual sportswear and dresses, while the most difficult were ladies' career sportswear and gifts.
For Target Corporation, net retail sales in February were $4.37bn, which is flat with last year. Comparable-store sales declined 4.1%. Target operates 1,699 stores.
For The TJX Companies, sales were down 2% to $1.22bn from $1.25bn last February - and included the anticipated negative impact of foreign currency exchange rates. Same-store sales were flat with last year.
Wal-Mart Stores posted a 2.8% rise in total company sales in the four weeks to
February 27, to $30.02bn from $29.19bn last time. Results were helped by an 8.1% rise in Walmart US sales, which helped offset a 10.8% drop in international sales which the company blamed on
unfavorable exchange rates. Total US same-store sales excluding fuel were up 5.1%.
The Wet Seal, which sells fashions for young women, reported a 5.8% drop in February sales to $39.8m. Comparable store sales were down 6.6%, with a 5.6% fall at Wet Seal stores, and an 11.5% drop at Arden B. Lower price points at Arden B improved regular price sell-through in February, the company said.
Zumiez, which sells action sports related apparel and footwear from 345 stores, reported a 0.2% increase in its sales for the four weeks to
February 18, to $23.1m. Same-store sales, however, fell 13.4%.
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