Sri Lanka apparel exports up 2.8-pct in Nov with investments in production

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ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka’s apparel exports grew 2.8 percent to 459 million US dollars from a year earlier in November 2019 due to an increase in production capacity and re-routing of supply chains amid the US-China trade war, an industry official said.

“Sri Lanka’s apparel exports increased in the November period because most of the Sri Lankan manufactures expanded their internal production capacity in 2019,” Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association (SLAEA) Chairman Rehan Lakhany said.

“The US-China trade war to some extent helped with orders diverted to Sri Lanka, so it was in our favour”.

Sri Lanka’s total apparel exports from January to November 2019 grew 5.8 percent to 4.85 billion US dollars, the highest ever, SLAEA data showed.

Apparel exports to the European Union (EU) grew 10.99 percent to 191.0 million US dollar in November 2019 compared to the same period in 2018.

The total exports to EU from January to November in 2019 was 5.7 percent or 2.03 billion US dollars, up from 2018.

Lakhany said exports to the EU has increased with continued leverage of GSP Plus preferential tariff benefits and market certainty with Brexit coming to a conclusion.

However, the exports to the US in November fell 4.8 percent to 208 million US dollars but exports to US for the period January to November 2019 recorded a growth of 3.7 percent or 2.14 billion US dollars.

“The exports to US decreased in November due to the continuous slowdown in sales of Victoria Secret, which is a large customer of Sri Lanka,” Lakhany said.

L Brands Group’s subsidiary, Victoria’s Secret posted a 7 percent fall in same-store sales in the US and Canada in the third quarter ending November 02. The parent posted a loss of 0.91 US dollars per share, dragged down by Victoria’s Secret’s performance.

The firm in an earnings release said it was expecting a 2 US dollar per share profit in the fourth quarter ending in January, which is the main shopping season for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Victoria’s Secret has been bleeding sales and divesting its brand portfolio due to changing consumer tastes, which have embraced body-positive brands that place a greater emphasis on comfort.

The brand’s flagship Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was cancelled in 2019. L Brands said in an official statement that the show was cancelled as a result of fall in sales and show ratings, and therefore it will focus on evolving its marketing strategies.

Overall, US clothing sales in November fell 2.65 percent, when adjusted for seasonality and holiday trading, according to the US Census Bureau’s early estimates. (Colombo/Jan13/2020)

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