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China Safeguards End
Page 1

UK Shoppers Turn to Cash
Page 1

Hanesbrands 
Q1 Soars 200%
Page 1

Lingerie Americas NY
Page 2


Buyers' Best Sellers
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Page 4

Victoria's Secret Takes Macy's to Court
Page 4


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The American Red Cross

  May 1, 2008                                           Issue #216


19/24

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China Textile Safeguards End
US safeguard quotas on Chinese textile and apparel imports will finish as scheduled at the end of this year two leading trade officials have confirmed. Scott Quesenberry, special textile negotiator in the office of the US Trade Representative were reported as saying: "We are at the end of the quota system.
"At the end of this year, the US will end its quota systems with China. We don't see a follow-on program as the rules are set by the World Trade Organization and can't be changed."
However, while the US has no legal basis to continue with its restrictions against China after 2008, Quesenberry admitted that "The bad news is the rules nowadays include anti-dumping and countervailing duties."
His comments were echoed by Rufus Yerxa, deputy director general of the WTO, who said: "There are still certain provisions where a country can still impose temporary safeguard measures.
"The creativity of governments to find new mechanisms is always there. The WTO cannot guarantee what governments will or won't do, but when governments do take action, the rules are there."
The US introduced restrictions on 34 customs categories imports of Chinese textile and apparel products in 2005 in response to surging shipments from China. These safeguard measures will expire on December 31, 2008.
Options to extend restrictions could include monitoring apparel imports from China to see if an anti-dumping investigation can be initiated.
Or a request for safeguard measures under the general safeguard mechanism available until December 10, 2013.
Countervailing duties could also be imposed if the US can demonstrate import prices are artificially low because of subsidies.
Quesenberry doesn't believe the threat of anti-dumping or countervailing duties is worse than the certainties afforded by quotas.
"I don't think they'll be used as often as people think," he said, pointing out that the process is long and complicated."


15/24   
UK Shoppers Turn to Cash
The British Retail Consortium says that UK shoppers have favored using cash instead of cards during the past year, as a result of an ensuing credit crisis in the country.
New figures from the BRC show that cash was used for 60% of all transactions, up from 54% last year. 
Measured by value, cash is used for 34% of retail spending compared with 32% a year ago.
British Retail Consortium director general Stephen Robertson said: "Reports of the death of cash are premature. Cash is not only alive, it's thriving. 
"Hard up customers are increasingly reluctant to spend money they haven't actually got in their hands. 
"While total retail spending continues to grow, there is a widening gap between the amount spent in cash and the amount spent using cards, suggesting customers want to keep tight control of their finances."
However, the BRC's survey, which included results from 17,000 shops or half of total UK retail sales, highlighted the "huge" extra costs card companies impose on retailers for processing card transactions.
In addition, BRC said that customers do not realize how much retailers are charged for processing card payments, with retailers responding to the survey being charged GBP516m in 2007, of which 82% was related to 
card payments.
Robertson added: "The BRC has consistently said these unjustifiable charges cost customers because they are so high retailers are forced to pass them on. 
"As banks move to replace cash, they must acknowledge the very low costs they actually incur.
"Banks should not be exploiting new payment systems as a way of taking extra money from shoppers. 
"There should be a lower fixed fee per transaction which actually reflects the cost of processing, so new technology brings balanced benefits to retailers, consumers and banks."


12/24              Photographed by Lawrence O. Brown

Victoria's Secret Sued Over 
        Bra Design

A New York woman filed suit against Limited Brands Inc alleging the parent company of Victoria's Secret stole her idea for its Very Sexy 100-way strapless convertible bra. 
Katerina Plew sued in U.S. District Court in lower Manhattan, saying Victoria's Secret infringed her May 2004 patent and knew about the patent since at least April 2006.
"I came up with the idea when I was trying to find a bra to go with one of the two dresses that I could wear to my triplets' christening," said Plew, 38. "I went crazy looking for a bra where the straps wouldn't show and couldn't find anything."
Plew, a single mother who works as a paralegal, said she researched her product visiting stores and looking through catalogues, and "that's when I came up with the idea."
She said she spent about $12,000 to patent the product and developed a prototype.
"When I realized how much it would cost to produce, I started contacting companies," she said.
Plew had an appointment to meet with a Victoria's Secret executive to whom she had mailed a copy of her patent, as well as a DVD with pictures of a model showing her bra, only to have the appointment abruptly canceled.
"A year later I walked into a Victoria's Secret and there was my bra up on the wall," she said.
The bra retails for between $50 and $56, according to the Victoria's Secret website. Plew is seeking unspecified damages.
Limited Brands won't comment on the pending litigation.



Hanesbrands Q1 Soars 200%
Cost cutting and lower debt have helped T-shirt and underwear maker Hanesbrands Inc to a 200% jump in first quarter profit, even though sales fell across most segments in what the company described as "a tough 
economic climate".
For the three months to March 29, net income soared to $36m, or $0.38 cents per share, from $12m, or $0.12 cents per share a year ago.
Excluding one-time items, adjusted earnings were $0.42 cents per share, up 56% year-on-year.
Hanesbrands, whose brands include Hanes, Champion, Playtex and Wonderbra, said total net sales decreased by 5.0% to $987.8m from $1.04bn.
Sales in the company's innerwear segment fell by 8%, outerwear was down by 4%, and hosiery sales fell by 9.6%, with the company pointing to declines in most product categories across most customers. 
Hanesbrands said its sales to retailers are consistent with lower consumer spending. 
The one bright spot was the International segment, where sales rose by 15%, driven by favorable foreign currency exchange rates. 
"Our strong profit growth was driven by continued cost-reduction initiatives and management of our debt structure in spite of a sales decline," said CEO Richard A Noll.
Since Hanesbrands was spun off from consumer goods giant Sara Lee in September 2006 the Winston-Salem, North Carolina based company has embarked on a series of factory closures and redundancies as it seeks to 
shore up its global supply chain and save money through 
economies of scale. 

 

Certified Intimate Apparel
   Professional Program
May sees the launch of the first professional accreditation program for intimate apparel executives and associates.
Devised by the Intimate Apparel Council and the Fashion Institute of Technology, the 2008 Certified Intimate Apparel Professional Program will kick off on May 8.
"FIT recognizes that the intimate apparel executive can no longer rely on general apparel industry knowledge, but must gain new insights and skills to better compete in the intimates market," said Eric Hertz, director of 
executive education for FIT. 
"Our new intimate apparel-focused program is needed now to meet the demands of today and tomorrow." 
Consisting of four one-day sessions, the program is taught by FIT's business and design faculty - as well as accomplished industry executives. 
Intimate apparel executives who complete the entire program will receive the 'Certified Intimate Apparel Professional' credential, an official designation from FIT. 
"Participating executives will cultivate new skills and understanding, advance their career potential, and raise the bar for the industry executives of the future," said Mark Sandler, Chairman of AAFA's Intimate 
Apparel Council. 

                          
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