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May 1, 2009
The McPete Sez Lingerie Newsletter & Women's
NRF & RILA to Merge
The National Retail Federation (NRF) and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) are to merge.
The merger will create a single trade association representing retail interests in the US.
"This is an historic time for our industry. The challenges and opportunities before our members are unprecedented. Now is the right time to bring these associations together," said RILA chairman Robert A. Niblock, chairman and CEO of Lowe's Companies and NRF chairman Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III, chairman and CEO of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. in a joint statement.
According to Niblock and Ullman, in addition to enhancing member value, the new (and as yet unnamed) association will accrue substantial benefits to all members collectively, small and large.
These benefits include a unified and stronger voice for the industry in Washington, DC and a single point of integration and dialogue with state retail associations and business groups in state capitals across the US.
Completion of the merger requires that both NRF and RILA submit to a thorough due diligence process. The details of the merger are being developed by representatives from RILA and NRF. Both associations' boards of directors must recommend the merger, and both memberships must approve it.
Both RILA and NRF expect the process to be completed by this summer.
Models present the four piece Victorian Flare
at the International Lingerie Fashion
Show at the
Rio Hotel in Las
Vegas April 20.
Photo by Jerome Hamilton
Trade Groups Fight Fashion
A US trade group has spoken out against the expected re-introduction of the Design Piracy Prohibition Act, which it said would "stifle the creativity that drives the fashion industry forward."
In a letter submitted April 27, to the US Congress, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) claimed the legislation "would require legitimate producers to navigate through new burdensome processes to get their garments and shoes to market."
The main aim of the bill is to provide high-end fashion designs with three-year copyright protection.
But the AAFA fears it actually goes much further.
As currently written, it says, the Design Piracy Prohibition Act would create legal ambiguity in the fashion industry by
utilizing a "closely and substantially similar" standard for infringement.
And it would automatically extend ownership rights of a design without any test to determine if such rights are merited.
While prohibiting the protection of all fashion items that previously existed, the legislation allows for the protection of these same "non-original
elements" if arranged in an original way.
It would also provide an opportunity for one designer to maintain a monopoly on any "trend" for three years.
"The essential driver of fashion is inspiration," said AAFA president and CEO Kevin M Burke. "And this bill outlaws inspiration."
"This legislation would put companies like ours at great risk of potential litigation if anyone feels our legitimate designs are too similar to theirs," added AAFA board of directors' chairperson Carol J Hochman, CEO of Triumph Apparel Marketing.
"When you make work-out and performance clothing like we do, the risk is high. This risk would be thrust onto every producer and brand in the apparel and footwear industry."
First introduced in April 2007, this bill was never passed into law.
Tia Lyn's NY Fashion Show with beautiful models of ALL SIZES!
UK Reports Retail Sales Lift
UK retail sales got an unexpected lift in the year to April, the CBI said April 28, in marked contrast to the heavy falls reported in March.
According to the CBI's latest Distributive Trades Survey, 44% of retailers said year-on-year sales volumes rose in the first half of April, while 41% said they were down.
The resulting balance of 3% was the highest figure since January 2008, when sales were up by 4%.
However, retailers do not expect this upswing to last into May, when they foresee declining sales again.
By sector, footwear and leather shops reported strong year-on-year growth. Wholesalers of clothing, textiles and footwear also reported modest growth.
Andy Clarke, chairman of the CBI Distributive Trades Panel, and chief operating officer of supermarket giant Asda, said: "The good turnout by shoppers over this year's later Easter may well have influenced the April retail figures."
But he cautioned that while they mark a respite "they should not be taken as an indication of a high street revival.
"With unemployment rising and growth in average earnings down, consumers remain very wary, and retailers themselves think that sales will drop again in May."
Wal-Mart Denies Downsizing
Wal-Mart has moved to quash reports that it is cutting jobs across its
operations in China.
The retailer had been reported to be planning a restructuring of its business in the country, with the revamp reportedly set to cost up to 1,400 jobs.
However, a spokesman for the US retail giant said that while the company is cutting some jobs at each Chinese store, the affected employees will be offered alternative positions.
"Wal-Mart China is not downsizing or laying off staff," a company spokesman said. "It is doing a business
optimization program to better support the company's growth plan."
He added: "This means [Wal-Mart China is] eliminating a few mid-level management positions per store, and the affected managers are being offered the opportunity to serve in other stores, particularly in the new stores we will be opening where we need experienced management staff."
The company has also said it is looking to push on into China's regional cities in 2009 and believes a restructuring of its management team in the country would help the business grow.
Wal-Mart is looking to reduce the layers of management at its larger Supercenter stores from five to three, and said the revamp would not lead
to job losses but free up managers to work at its new stores in China's "second-tier" and "third-tier" cities.
As at the end of March, Wal-Mart operated 246 stores in China.
US March Retail Sales Down
Total US retail sales fell 3.7% in the month of March, compared to the
same month last year, according to the National Retail Federation.
The NRF said that several months of stronger-than-expected retail sales had provided hope that the industry was poised to bounce back, but that March retail sales demonstrate that the industry is continuing to struggle.
Retail industry sales for March (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) decreased 0.6% seasonally adjusted from February.
"A chilly start to spring and a late Easter combined for dreary March sales," said Rosalind Wells, chief economist for NRF.
"To compensate for the Easter shift, retailers typically look at March and April together to get a better look at how their stores performed. Easter should give a much-needed boost to April sales."
The shift in Easter sales also played a role in consumer purchases of clothing and clothing accessories, NRF added.
Sales at those stores decreased 1.8% seasonally adjusted from February and decreased 8.7% unadjusted over March 2008.
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