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Bangladesh, Vietnam’s US Denim Shipments Trounce China

Jeans imports into the United States increased 24.7 percent year to date though October to a value of $1.85 billion, but China didn’t participate in their uptick, new data from the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles & Apparel (OTEXA) showed.

As retailers and brands brought in goods for their final fourth-quarter push, women’s and girls’ “blue denim trouser” shipments slightly surpassed men’s and boys’ jeans imports. Women’s jeans imports rose 25.11 percent to $1.74 billion in the 10-month period, while men’s shipments were up 24.33 percent to $1.85 billion, according to OTEXA.

Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Fran Horowitz told Sourcing Journal last month that women are buying jeans and non-denim pants, “and that’s because probably [with] the jeans she can still wear them to get a little bit more dressed up.”

Horowitz pointed to a pronounced “shift out of denim into both non-denim bottoms, including cargo,” but said jeans are the most important go-to item for back-to-school, although “it becomes less important heading into the fourth quarter.” While there are some “new things happening outside of denim, there’s still a lot of things happening in denim—the high rise, the wider legs, all of that is still important for that consumer,” she added.

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In women’s and girls’, OTEXA data showed imports from top producer Bangladesh increased 36.76 percent to a value of $384.58 million, while second-place Vietnam’s shipments rose 19.06 percent in the period to $285.82 million. Among their Asian competitors, imports from China fell 1.06 percent year to date to $237.06 million, with companies increasingly putting their sourcing plans elsewhere to avoid paying ongoing tariffs and to stay away from the political risks surrounding the country.

Imports from neighboring Pakistan were up 37.53 percent to $227.02 million, shipments from Cambodia jumped 35.77 percent to $138.27 million, shipments from Sri Lanka increased 23.15 percent to $58.82 million and imports from Macau were up 40.1 percent to $26.16 million.

Rounding out the Top 10, imports from Mexico increased 37.33 percent to $92.18 million, Egypt’s shipments jumped 79.19 percent to $79.03 million and imports from Turkey were up 20.94 percent to $52.44 million.

In men’s and boys’ jeans, No.1 producer Mexico saw its imports into the U.S. rise 17.11 percent in the period to a value of $546 million, followed by Bangladesh’s 46 percent gain to $443.7 million. Imports from No. 3 supplier Pakistan rose 33.21 percent year to date through October to $189.09 million, with other Asian nations among the Top 10 suppliers all posting increases except China.

Shipments from China declined 1.09 percent in the period to $71.69 million, while imports from Vietnam were up 19.36 percent to $93.33 million, shipments from Cambodia rose 47.66 percent to $46.64 million and imports from India increased 46.5 percent to $43.03 million.

Completing the Top 10, imports from Nicaragua rose 25.76 percent to $122.38 million, shipments arriving at U.S. ports from Egypt increased 21.47 percent to $113.97 million and imports from Lesotho were up 10.46 percent to $39.04 million.