GENEVA — The United States was the top destination in 2017 for new commitments in greenfield foreign direct investments in the retail-apparel sector with declared new projects — mainly in new stores — valued at $4.7 billion, a United Nations report said.
The new projects included outlays by brands such as Golden Goose, Fabiana Filippi, Herno, Hennes & Mauritz and Hermès International, said U.N. analysts, who noted the following most popular destinations were the United Kingdom with $1.5 billion; Canada with $1.3 billion; France with $1.2 billion, and China with $974 million.
Other popular host countries for new greenfield FDI projects in the retail sector included Spain with $800 million; Australia with $600 million; Hong Kong with $416 million, and Russia with $370 million in new declared projects.
Worldwide in 2017, greenfield projects in the apparel-retail sector were valued at $18.3 billion and were a more popular choice for investors than greenfield FDI in textiles, apparel and leather manufacturing, estimated at only $7.8 billion, according to the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development’s “World Investment Report, 2018.”
The report said that in Africa, greenfield FDI in textiles, apparel and leather “has been relatively strong over the past few years, reaching $4 billion in 2017.” But the study noted the largest projects, however, are concentrated only in a few countries.
Indeed, the top African country last year for new greenfield FDI manufacturing projects in the sector was Nigeria — the continent’s most populous nation — with declared investments valued at $2.1 billion, followed by Ethiopia, with $1.5 billion in new projects.
By comparison, new greenfield projects in the same sector in China — the world’s biggest textiles and apparel manufacturer — were estimated to be worth around $1.8 billion, and in Vietnam were valued at $328 million.
Overall, the report said, global FDI in 2017 fell by 23 percent to $1.43 trillion, it projects global FDI flows this year to “increase marginally by up to 10 percent, but remain well below the average of the last 10 years.”
In 2017, the U.S. remained the top host economy and attracted inflows of $275 billion, down on the previous year’s $457 billion, followed by China with $136 billion.