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China’s Denim Shipments into US Dry Up

U.S. imports of blue denim apparel continued to slide in September as a slowdown in consumer demand has caused merchants to take stock of their inventory positions.

With jeans making up the vast majority of category, imports from the world increased 27.78 percent in the month compared to September 2021 to reach a value of $3.25 billion, according to the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles & Apparel (OTEXA).

This was a falloff from a 31.29 percent year-to-date rise in the first eight months of the year and a 42.63 percent first-half gain.

Kontoor Brands said last week that revenue for the third quarter fell 7 percent to $607 million, due in part to “significant U.S. retailer inventory rebalancing efforts in the quarter.”

Sell-in was adversely impacted and global revenue tempered as U.S. retailer inventory rebalancing efforts and Covid-related lockdowns in China continued, said Scott Baxter, president, CEO and chair of Kontoor Brands.

“We expect challenging global macroeconomic conditions, particularly inflation, should continue to weigh on consumer discretionary spend, and ongoing inventory reduction actions will pressure near-term margins,” Baxter said. “However, we anticipate revenue to sequentially accelerate in the fourth quarter due to improved U.S. retail inventory levels, continued POS momentum, share gains and new business development activities.”

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OTEXA’s September report showed imports from No. 1 supplier Bangladesh stayed strong, with a 42.01 percent increased year over year to $738.7 million. This was down slightly from August’s 46.37 percent hike.

Imports from second-place supplier Mexico slipped to 18.99 percent compared to the prior month’s 20.56 percent gain to a value of $561.38 million.

Among the Top 10 Asian producers, shipments from Pakistan were up 36.63 percent from a year earlier to $376.95 million, while imports from Vietnam rose 25.12 percent to $348.64 million and shipments from Cambodia increased 47.4 percent to 168.04 million.

China’s jeans imports into the U.S. posted a meager 6.12 percent increase–cut in half from September–to $291.45 million, as the country’s production faces competition from ongoing tariff costs and diversification strategies.

Rounding out the Top 10, jeans imports increased 60.3 percent from Egypt to $178.41 million, 25.21 percent to $114.64 million from Nicaragua, 21.13 percent to $60.34 million from Turkey and 24.73 percent to $60.04 million from Sri Lanka.