FASTURN ACQUIRES CONSULTANTS TO LINK UP WITH IMPORT DATA

Byline: Katherine Bowers

LOS ANGELES — Fasturn Inc., a business-to-business online market focused on apparel and textiles, is expected to announce today it has acquired import management and consulting firm International Business and Economic Research Corp., which counsels several major apparel players.
The roster of clients at IBERC, a 30-year-old concern based in Washington, D.C., includes Abercrombie & Fitch, Ann Taylor, The Charming Shoppes, Federated Department Stores Merchandising Group, J. Crew, and the government of Sri Lanka, among others.
Fasturn declined to comment on the financial terms of the deal but did say IBERC will remain in Washington and operate as a division of Fasturn, which is based here. IBERC employs six people, including company founder Mike Daniels, who now reports to Marilyn Tam, Fasturn’s president.
As a result of the acquisition, Fasturn has gained access to IBERC’s client list and will be streaming IBERC’s daily quota price and quota availability for various categories of apparel and textiles, onto the public and private marketplaces, created for certain clients, at Fasturn, according to Marilyn Tam, Fasturn’s president.
Fasturn will also use the data to calculate the landed cost of garments — the cost of garments arriving in the U.S. — for various sourcing scenarios. According to Tam, determining the landed cost of goods is typically a lengthy calculation that involves getting a price from a manufacturer’s agent and adding to it the costs of loading, shipping, import duties, and quotas — which can fluctuate daily.
“[Importers] can get [that information] now, but it’s complicated,” Tam said. “This will streamline the process and allow comparisons. It can help [users] decide which country to go with and whether the landed cost is within their pricing realm. It can also help them decide on markups and how to position their lines.”
IBERC data and analysis will be available for users to browse in the news content portion of the Web site at Fasturn.com, and in a spreadsheet that gives an overview of where quota is running out and where it is available, according to merchandise category. A landed-cost calculator application is expected to be functional on Nov. 1, in both Fasturn’s public and private apparel and textile e-marketplaces.
For his part, IBERC’s Daniels said the acquisition is well timed to address dramatic shifts in quota regulations, including the Caribbean Basin Trade Initiative, which went into effect Oct. 2 and ended all quotas and duties on apparel made in CBI nations using U.S. yarn and fabric. Also on the horizon: the expiration, on Jan. 1, 2005, of U.S. apparel and textile import quotas for all World Trade Organization members. China and Taiwan are expected to be WTO members by then.
“The quota system as we know it now will disappear,” Daniels noted, “and we believe there will be other efforts to control trade.”

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