WASHINGTON — Retailers and brands trimmed inventories in August, as weak demand drove a year-over-year decline in imports from eight of the top 10 countries supplying apparel and textiles to the U.S., according to a report from the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles and Apparel on Thursday.
Combined apparel and textile imports to the U.S. fell 2.1 percent to 5 billion square meter equivalents in August compared to a year earlier, with apparel imports down 4.4 percent to 2.3 billion SME and textile shipments declining 0.5 percent to 2.7 billion SME.
“It is a reflection of what is happening in 2012 as we are heading into the holiday selling season…that business continues to be tough,” said Julia Hughes, president of the U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles & Apparel. “Companies do not want to have too much inventory. They don’t want to overcommit until they see what the customer is buying.”
Hughes said apparel imports for the first eight months of the year, which fell 3.1 percent compared with the same period a year earlier, were down for all but two of the top 20 suppliers — China, which was virtually flat, and Vietnam, which was up 5.7 percent.
“It is more likely that some production may have shifted into Vietnam from other suppliers since China is remaining stable,” Hughes said.
Apparel and textile shipments from China, the top supplier to the U.S., fell 2.8 percent to 2.5 billion SME in August compared with August 2011. Apparel shipments declined 3.6 percent to 1.1 billion SME, while textile shipments fell 2.2 percent to 1.4 billion SME.
Combined shipments from Vietnam were down 7.1 percent to 267 million SME in August compared with a year earlier, primarily due to a significant drop in textile shipments, which declined 24.5 percent to 77 million SME. Apparel imports, of which Vietnam is the second largest supplier, rose 2.6 percent to 190 million SME.
The top eight countries posting a decline in combined textile and apparel shipments were China, Vietnam, Pakistan, Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Canada and Honduras.
The only two countries with an uptick in imports in August were India, with a 4.2 percent increase to 302 million SME, and Bangladesh with an increase of 5.9 percent to 171 million SME.
The overall trade deficit in August widened to $44.2 billion from $42.5 billion in July, as demand for exports weakened.
“The (yet unofficial) Eurozone recession and Chinese slowdown have clearly reduced the global appetite for U.S. goods and services,” said Gregory Daco, principal U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight.
Daco said weaker demand for apparel “weighed on consumer goods imports” as imports as a whole fell 0.1 percent for the month despite a rise in services imports related to the Summer Olympics in London.
A new Joan Rivers coffee table book, titled “Joan Rivers Confidential,” gives readers never-before-seen photos and letters of the late comedian throughout her life. “Because of her drive to always be fresh, she kept records of every appearance, every performance, all the jokes that were used on TV, all the clothes that were worn,” said Rivers’ daughter Melissa. Here, Rivers poses at the “Tonight Show” in Tracy Mills in 1985. Read more about the book and see more photos at WWD.com. #wwdeye
After a career at New York hot spots like Narcissa, Dovetail and Nix, @chefjfraser has expanded to the West Village with The Loyal, a modernized take on an American brasserie. “And as I’ve gone through my career I’ve felt some departure from that kind of simple, straightforward [cooking]. This is meant to take on the idea of ‘what if the American brasserie was invented today?’” #wwdeye (📷: @chinseephoto)
@bellahadid and @lilyaldridge at @bulgariofficial’s celebration on Friday night, toasting the brand's new Peter Marino-designed flagship on Fifth Avenue. The two-part event included a cocktail party at the store followed by a dinner at a mystery location — the Met Cloisters. #wwdeye
From overseeing America’s fastest-growing speciality retailers to codifying cool, WWD talked to the women who are leading the way for the future of beauty. Check out our Instagram Stories to see how these women built today and are creating tomorrow. (📸: @hannah_khymych) #wwdbeauty
For @laperlalingerie's spring 2018 show, the brand chose to host their event at @thevenetianmacao. With Chinese megastars @bingbing_fan and @hubing in attendance, La Perla debuted a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired collection. The show marked the start of Sands Macao Fashion Week, which runs from October 19 to 24 — the city’s first such event. Pictured here are models backstage with glimmering eyes. #wwdfashion (📷: Cheuk-Yin To)
Trending for spring 2018: top stitch design. Gone are the days of stitch just for seams — designers are using the once-minimal detail to create strong decorative elements. (📷: Paola Testa; Styled by @andrew_shang) #wwdfashion
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews