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.
@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
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews