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Strong Peso Hurts Colombia's Textile Industry
Page 1

Bloomingdales' Catalog Discontinued
Page 1

Illegal Fabric Shipments
Page 1

Lingerie Americas NY
Page 2


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The American Red Cross

  May 15, 2008                                           Issue #217


20/24

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Strong Peso Hurts Colombia's
         Textile Industry
Colombia's textiles and apparel industry has lost COP1bn (US$0.56m) in the four years from 2004-2008, hurt by a soaring peso, growing contraband rates and tougher Asian competition.
The country's industry, which has also lost 24,000 jobs in the period, is struggling to survive as a strengthening peso dampens exports and a falling US dollar fuels imports of Asian apparel.
A flourishing contraband trade is also hurting the industry's fortunes, observers say.
In the first quarter, leading textile producer Fabricato lost COP17m while rival Enka saw revenues fall to COP97m from COP120m in the same 2007 period, according to analysts.
Other industry leader Coltejer is on the brink of bankruptcy and seeking a buyer. Its shares stopped trading on the stock exchange ten days ago.
"It has been a very difficult quarter," Ivan Amaya, president of textiles lobby Ascoltex, said in a statement. 
"A cheap dollar has allowed a grater number of Asian imports to arrive, robbing our market share. We are reaching a very critical situation."
The industry is set to hold a series of meetings with the government to hammer out a rescue plan for the 600,000-strong sector which may include tax incentives and other protectionist measures.


16/24   
           TJX Q1 Profit Up 
US retail group The TJX Companies has increased its first quarter profit by 19.8% and identified the UK and Germany for projected international store growth.
The off-price retailer said first quarter net income rose to $194m, from $162m in the same period last year. 
The prior year's results included a $12m charge related to a computer intrusion.
Net sales were up 6% to $4.4bn, and same-store sales increased 3% over last year.
Carol Meyrowitz, president and CEO, said the company managed to drive "strong sales, merchandise margins, and profit growth despite the challenges of the consumer environment and unfavorable weather in the 
first two months. 
"While we continue our sharp execution of our off-price business model and deliver strong results, we are also funding our expansion domestically and internationally.
"We are excited by our prospects for growth in Europe, having opened our first HomeSense stores in the UK and another TK Maxx store in Germany."
For the first quarter, the company's consolidated pretax profit margin was 6.6%, compared to 6.4% in the prior year.
For the second quarter the company expects earnings per share in the range of $.40 to $.42, compared to $0.13 in the prior year. 
For the fiscal year it is maintaining its guidance of earnings per share in the range of $2.20 to $2.25 - a 33-36% increase over the previous year.


13/24              Photographed by Lawrence O. Brown


Bloomingdale's Catalog
        Discontinued
Department store operator Macy’s Inc is to end Bloomingdale's mail order catalog and focus instead on its fast-growing website.
The company said in a statement that The Bloomingdale's By Mail catalog will be discontinued by early 2009 in a move that "streamlines operations, and creates a more efficient and focused organization."
Bloomingdales.com is part of the direct-to-consumer business of Macy's Inc, which is expected to exceed $1bn in sales in 2008. 
These direct-to-consumer businesses have benefited from significant infrastructure improvements, including two 600,000-square-foot fulfillment centers opened by Macy's Inc over the past year. 
"Bloomingdale's is focused on growing its online business, increasing profitability and reflecting a seamless brand and merchandise selection, whether it be in-store or online," said Michael Gould, Bloomingdale's chairman and chief executive officer. 
"As more customers turn to the Web for access to Bloomingdale's, their shopping experience must be brand-right." 
Macy's, which operates 40 department store Bloomingdale's department stores, said Bloomingdale's advertising catalogs are not affected by the 
restructuring.



Illegal Fabric Shipments
Large quantities of Indian-made fabric have been illegally imported into Pakistan through the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since February 2007, for use in garment manufacturing and re-exports.
As a result, Pakistan's government has instructed customs to pay particular attention to Certificate of Origins for fabric shipments from UAE, which has few large-scale manufacturers.
It follows findings that customs authorities at Lahore did not follow government instructions to properly check import documents. 
Furthermore, clearance of the banned items reportedly continued at the air freight unit in Lahore, as importers diverted their shipments to Lahore instead of Karachi.
Imports of fabric from India have been banned by the Pakistan federal government to protect the country's domestic cloth manufacturing industry.

 

  Customs Charge Hurts
         Tarrant's Q1
Private label specialist Tarrant Apparel Group saw a potential first quarter profit turned into a loss by a one-off charge from US Customs. 
The company, which sells private label and private brand casual clothing, posted net sales of US$50.5m in the three months to 31 March, down 10% on last year. 
Private label sales dropped 12.4% to $42.2m, while private brands revenues dipped 5.1% to $7.9m. Tarrant recorded gross profit of $10m, down from $12.3m last year, partly because of the fall in sales. 
The company's net loss was $253,000, compared to a net loss of $1m last year. 
However, the company was hit by a one-off charge of $848,000 from US Customs, related to liquidated damages imposed on overseas vendors which are no longer operating. 
Calling the charge "unfortunate", chairman and interim CEO Gerard Guez said: "We continue to operate in a difficult environment, as retailers continue to face many of the challenges created by a slowing economy and high energy prices. 
"In this environment, we remain highly focused on tight expense controls, while seeking ways to improve sourcing and inventory management. 
"We also continue to work closely with our customers, to ensure that they receive highly attractive products on a timely basis."

                          
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