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NEW YORK — China’s Luthai Textile Co. has cut the ribbon on its New York office-showroom, ceremonially speaking of course. Luthai’s facility at 1450 Broadway won’t actually be operational until July, yet officials of the $1.3 billion vertically structured dyed fabric and shirt supplier were eager to get the message out that they’re serious about strengthening ties to its American customers and growing its exports.
This story first appeared in the January 22, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“The main purpose of opening offices here is to get close to our customers. Service is our first priority. But we’ll grow together,” Liu Zibin, Luthai’s director and general manager, told WWD. He was speaking through an interpreter, in the Vanderbilt Room of the Waldorf-Astoria earlier this month, where the Luthai delegation conducted the symbolic red ribbon-cutting before about 75 representatives from the China General Chamber of Commerce, LF USA, PVH Corp. and other clients. Luthai also spotlighted its new Arrow Superluxe — The Stitchless Shirt, which is engineered with fused seams and no stitches. At the end of the event, Zibin handed each guest a cherrywood box with individually hand-painted bottles depicting florals, landscapes or clouds.
Luthai, which is based in Shandong, also supplies such retailers as Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Lands’ End and Brooks Brothers. “The U.S. is our key market, similar to Europe,” Zibin said. “It accounts for over 35 percent of our total exports, or about $220 million in revenues,” while Europe represents 30 percent of revenues.
Luthai does its own cotton planting, spinning, dyeing, weaving, finishing and sewing, annually producing 50 million meters of piece-dyed fabric, 178 million meters of yarn-dyed fabric and 20 million shirts. Though Luthai also sells shirts under its own labels in several countries, it has yet to introduce them to the U.S., instead concentrating on the private-label strategy of American retailers. “For our own brand, there is no plan yet for the U.S.,” Zibin said of the company’s own labels. The priority, he added, is “to deepen our understanding of our customers here.”