WASHINGTON — Under continued pressure from declining consumer demand and a stalled economy, apparel and textile imports dropped in July for the fifth consecutive month.
The volume of apparel and textile imports to the U.S. declined 4.4 percent in July compared with a year earlier, to 4.58 billion square meter equivalents, after sliding 10 percent in June, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Year-over-year import levels fell 6 percent in May, 0.6 percent in April and 11.4 percent in March.
The overall U.S. trade deficit widened sharply to $62.2 billion in July from $58.8 billion in June, led by continued imports of oil and a surge in shipments of technology sector products.
“The slowdown in U.S. demand is being felt by U.S. producers and importers, as well,” said Charles McMillion, president and chief economist at MBG Information Services. “I expect that’s going to continue. Margins are being really squeezed at every point along the supply chain, both domestically and internationally, because of the volatile exchange rate and slowing demand both in the U.S. and very rapidly abroad. It is likely to be, and in fact was, a pretty rotten back-to-school season and the holiday seasons ahead are not looking very good either.”
Despite the start of the b-t-s season in July, there was no import bounce, which does not bode well for the remainder of the year, economists said.
“In general, like most other consumer categories, the volume of imports is going to be pressured by the weakness of domestic spending in the general consumer area, which would include spending on apparel,” said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at Global Insight. “To me, it says the retailers are being very cautious. They are not expecting strength and they’re worried about if they bring in too many imports being stuck with stuff they can’t sell.”
July imports of textiles and apparel to the U.S. from China fell 4.8 percent in the month to 1.96 billion SME. In June, shipments of apparel and textiles from China fell 11.8 percent, the largest drop in more than seven years, according to Commerce’s Office of Textiles & Apparel.
The most significant increases in combined apparel and textile imports to the U.S. were from Bangladesh, Vietnam and Honduras. Bangladesh increased shipments to the U.S. by 18.5 percent to 134 million SME, Vietnam’s imports were up 17 percent to 166 million SME and Honduras increased imports 13.2 percent to 130 million SME.
Imports from Canada plummeted 28.4 percent to 120 million SME in July, and Pakistan’s shipments to the U.S. fell 9.7 percent to 246 million SME. Imports from Mexico were down 6.7 percent to 247 million SME.
China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Honduras and Mexico continued to be the top five sources of apparel to the U.S. China also topped the list of top textile suppliers, followed by Pakistan, India, Mexico and South Korea.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye