Markets: The Year Ahead

In this fourth of a five-part series exploring all segments of the apparel, beauty and retail businesses, WWD takes a look at new and growing markets for brands to sell and manufacture their goods.

 

See Monday’s look at the retail and fashion categories HERE; Tuesday’s look at the media and entertainment sector HERE; Wednesday’s coverage of the financial sector HERE; and check back for Friday’s coverage of the beauty industry.

Select countries in Asia, South America and Eastern Europe are emerging from recession ahead of the rest of the world, and these fastest-growing consumer economies are prime markets for brands to explore.

Exploring untapped markets from Beijing to Brazil is the key strategy for long-term expansion for many companies looking to grow their businesses in a difficult environment. Whether by opening signature stores or through wholesale distribution agreements, American designers and fashion brands are seeking to expand their global reach by tapping into emerging markets and balancing their businesses to avoid total dependence on the U.S. market.

China’s lightning-quick rise from nascent member of the World Trade Organization in 2001 to world economic power in 2009 has come hand-in-hand with its ascent to being the leading producer of textiles and apparel globally. WWD speculates on what lies ahead this year for China, whose growing pains are expected to become more evident this year.

Massive upheaval is what ocean carriers might face this year when it comes to getting their goods to market. Carriers such as Maersk, APL Lines, Evergreen Line and Hanjin Shipping are facing myriad issues that are expected to linger throughout 2010 and beyond, including overcapacity of ships and containers, rising fuel prices and low freight rates.

As the global economy struggles to stabilize, executives from Hong Kong’s leading sourcing companies such as Bruce Rockowitz, Henry Tan, Gordon Yen, John Cheh and Roger Lee discuss their experience during 2009 and their outlooks for the year to come.

Asia remains the epicenter of apparel manufacturing, but within the region new manufacturing sources are emerging to challenge China’s dominance. Vietnam, Bangladesh, Cambodia and India held onto significant market shares and in some instances were able to grab a larger piece of apparel exports.

Among the people to watch this year are Jeff Streader, senior vice president of global sourcing for Guess Inc., and Janet Fox, vice president and director of strategic sourcing at J.C. Penney Co. and chairwoman of the U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles & Apparel.

Brands and retailers are turning up the pressure on the world’s suppliers to be socially responsible corporate citizens as the environmental impact of the apparel industry increasingly becomes a matter of public discourse.

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