SANEI TO SHANGHAI: Sanei International Corp., a major apparel company based in Tokyo, has established a wholly owned subsidiary in Shanghai that will initially handle procurement and trading of merchandise from China and eventually build directly managed apparel factories in that country.

The new company, Sanei International Trading (Shanghai) Co., is capitalized initially at $200,000, a Sanei spokesman said, explaining that it is positioned as a controlling company responsible for directly managing Sanei’s trading and manufacturing operations in China.

To ensure the stable and long-term supply of high-quality and reasonably priced merchandise from China, it is essential that the company structures a system of direct control and management over its manufacturing operations in that country, Sanei stressed.

The Shanghai-based firm will eventually be able to plan, design and produce its own brands for the Chinese market, independent of its parent company, the executive said.

The move is part of Sanei’s continuing effortto expand its presence in Asia. The firm established a subsidiary in Hong Kong, Sanei Group International H.K. Ltd., two years ago to handle its growing business with China.

— Tsukasa Furukawa

Mizuno Corp., a leading manufacturer of sporting goods and clothes, and Mitsubishi Rayon Co. have jointly developed a new type of man-made fiber yarn that expands or shrinks according to the level of its water content.

The new material, which has been named “Dynamic Airy,” is actually a conjugated yarn of triacetate and diacetate from Mitsubishi. Dubbed the “textile that moves,” the conjugated yarn expands 20 percent when it absorbs water, Mizuno said, noting that the company plans to introduce golf wear and other athletic wear using the new fiber ,including polo shirts, T-shirts and warm-ups.

The conjugated yarn is structured like a spring: when it absorbs water and expands, it allows more air and increases air permeability of the clothes. — T.F.

Imports of woven apparel to Japan from all sources in the first five months this year increased 3 percent in quantity from a year earlier to 512,845,000 pieces but declined 3.4 percent in value to $3.57 billion or in local currency, 428.32 billion yen, according to the Japan Textile Importers Association. Dollar figures are converted at an exchange rate of 120 yen to the dollar.Likewise, imports of knit apparel rose 9.3 percent in quantity to 884,296,000 pieces but were down 0.1 percent in value at $2.6 billion. In addition, imports of accessories during the five-month period amounted to $756 million, up 1.3 percent.

China continued as the largest exporter accounting for a share of 81.3 percent and 81.1 percent, respectively, of woven and knit apparel imports. China was followed by Italy, Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand, the U.S., France, Indonesia, India and the Philippines.

Imports of woven apparel from the U.S. were down 16.8 percent to $35 million, while shipments of knit apparel fell 31.2 percent to $46.7 million, according to the association. North Korea shipped about 1 million pieces of woven apparel, down 4.9 percent, worth $19 million, down 18.7 percent, while supplying 85,000 pieces of knit apparel, up 16.7 percent, valued at $758,000, up 63.9 percent. — T.F.

Sales at department stores in the Tokyo metropolitan area in June dropped for the 19th straight month. Total sales from 28 doors of 13 retailers fell 2.8 percent to $1.42 billion, or 166.7 billion yen in local currency,from the same month of last year. “In the latter half of the month, sales slowed despite a small pickup due to various promotions, including seasonal markdowns and store renovations,” said the Japan Department Stores Association. In May, total sales dropped 4.7percent from a year ago.

Sales of apparel in June fell 1 percent from a year ago, recording the category’s 9th consecutive drop. Sales of women’s wear declined 0.4 percent, marking the 5th straight drop, although “good sales were seen in young casual wear,” said the association. Men’s wear dropped 0.5 percent, while kids’ wear fell 5.2 percent. In May, total sales from apparel goods dropped 2.9 percent from the previous year. Dollar figures have been converted at current exchange. — Koji Hirano

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