SLOW MOTION: The Hong Kong Trade Development Council revised downward its forecast for export growth. The TDC’s chief economist Edward Leung said that he expects only 3.3 percent growth in the last quarter of the year, down from the 4 percent...
SLOW MOTION: The Hong Kong Trade Development Council revised downward its forecast for export growth. The TDC’s chief economist Edward Leung said that he expects only 3.3 percent growth in the last quarter of the year, down from the 4 percent growth previously forecast. Leung said, “Resumption of traveling by overseas buyers, coupled with the renewed marketing efforts of Hong Kong suppliers, should bode well for Hong Kong exports. But the repercussion of SARS is expected to linger on for a while, and exports will likely pick up strongly only towards the last quarter of 2003.”
While the clothing industry appears to be the least hard hit, Hong Kong’s jewelry and watchmakers were dealt a serious blow by SARS as the outbreak coincided with the industry’s buying season. To recoup some of the losses, the TDC announced last week that it was suing the Swiss organizers of the Basel Watch and Jewelry Fair for $9 million in damages. The money would compensate the TDC and the 313 Hong Kong companies that were not allowed to participate in the April show. The TDC alone spent $3.7 million on Baselworld. Analysts say that so far this year, the industry has lost orders worth an estimated $1.3 million. An official of the Basel fair in New York said, “The Basel show is in discussions with the Swiss government on how to approach the next step and resolve this important issue. There’s a meeting this week and there is no new development until this meeting.” — Constance Haisma-Kwok
SARS SAFETY: The Association of Perfumes and Cosmetics Distribution in Singapore is starting a “We’re Cool. We Care” campaign around the end of the May department store sales period. During the campaign, all beauty consultants at department store cosmetic counters who pass a daily temperature check are to wear a specially designed badge with a smiling flower design. Adding to the standard customer contact procedures issued previously to fight SARS, Takafumi Oba, president of APCD, said the “We’re Cool. We Care” campaign is the next step by APCD to keep fighting the epidemic.
“The SARS situation might seem to be in control now. However, it’s not over yet and we would want to incorporate customer care and customer safety in our day-to-day routine until the case is over,” said Oba.The association’s current customer contact procedures include a twice-daily temperature check, the use of hand sanitizers before and after serving customers and wiping the counter with disinfectant every hour. Also, all cosmetic counters are using only disposable cosmetic applicators for product testing.
In addition, the APCD has ordered handheld thermal scanners for all cosmetic houses to use at their key counters, the first in the department store sector. The handheld scanners cost about $200 each and there’s an order of about 180 pieces from all APCD members. The scanner enables a person’s temperature to be taken without any body contact using infrared rays. They will be in use at all key cosmetic counters in mid-June. — Koji Hirano
POLYESTER DIP: The slowdown in Asia’s textile production, coupled with higher polyester prices and the SARS epidemic, have resulted in a sharp decline in sales of South Korea’s textured polyester yarns. Yarn sales were down nearly 15 percent in volume in the first four months of the year. Exports to the U.S. fell 50 percent alone in the first quarter.
The impact of SARS was evident when exports to China fell off dramatically in March after being up in January and February. And Korean exports of polyester yarn to Hong Kong were virtually nonexistent in April. Another factor has been the price of polyester, which surged at the beginning of the year from $2.50 per kilo in January to $2.62 in February. In April, the price was $2.18. — C.H.K.
WEAKENING CHAINS: Total sales of chain stores in Japan dropped 2.6 percent to $10.2 billion in April from a year ago, according to the Japan Chain Stores Association. Due to lower-than-normal temperatures and rain at the beginning of the month, apparel sales dropped 5.2 percent from April 2002, the association said. Apparel sales accounted for 13.8 percent of all revenues of the country’s 8,798 chain stores. Sales of women’s wear dropped 3.4 percent, while men’s wear dropped 5.7 percent. Dollar figures are converted at current exchange rates. — K.H.
COME VISIT: Now that SARS seems to be under control, the question on everyone’s lips is how to get tourists to come back to Hong Kong. To that end, the Hong Kong government announced a $128.2 million package that promotes the city and provides incentives for travelers.Although details have not been confirmed, The South China Morning Post reported that the plan calls for visits to Hong Kong by high-profile luminaries from the worlds of politics, sports and entertainment. Among those said to be on the invite list are former U.S. President Bill Clinton, former mayor of New York City Rudolph Giuliani, Latin heartthrob Ricky Martin and rock group The Rolling Stones. The latter was scheduled to play numerous concerts in Hong Kong and China in April, but canceled because of SARS fears. Famed English soccer club Liverpool also will travel to Hong Kong for a friendly match.
The spending package calls for heavy advertising, visits abroad by prominent Hong Kong medical, business and political leaders and numerous community events, including street fairs and performances, designed to entice locals back to shops and restaurants.
Plans also were revealed for a walk of fame akin to that of Hollywood. To be located in Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong’s premier tourism district, the Avenue of Stars will honor local film industry luminaries, as well as international stars who have made a significant contribution to local moviemaking. The project will cost $5.1 million and will get under way next month. Tourists can expect to view the sidewalk in April 2004, when the hand prints and signatures of such Hong Kong stars as Jackie Chan, Chow Yun-fat, Jet Li and director John Woo — to name a few shoo-ins — are expected to be unveiled. — C.H.K.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)