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US Denim Apparel Imports Rose 40% Through April

The jeans market sees to be benefitting from consumers’ return to socializing and going out.

U.S. retailers and brands imported 40.84 percent more blue denim apparel in the first four months of 2022 compared to the same time last year for a value of $1.25 billion, according to new data from the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles & Apparel (OTEXA).

This came after Levi Strauss & Co. CEO Chip Bergh said the company now sees annual revenue growing in a range of 6 percent to 8 percent through 2027, up from previous five-year targets of 4 percent to 6 percent. Such an increase would take LS&Co.’s revenue from $5.8 billion to close the 2021 fiscal year to a range between $9 billion and $10 billion.

The company is making a big is counting on brick-and-mortar with plans to open some 400 locations through 2027 for a nearly 1,550-strong fleet, including Dockers and Beyond Yoga stores.

Liz O’Neill, Levi Strauss executive vice president and chief operations officer, said on Investor Day that the company has manufacturing operations in 28 countries and a global distribution network of 35 facilities. She said Levi’s will build out supply chain capacity to support the $10 billion revenue goal, with two new facilities—one in the U.S. and one in Europe—being built through 2024 to help grow its omnichannel capacity so that “all products and all channels can be serviced under one roof.”

The company also will expand its sourcing base, seeking out emerging production markets to ensure diversification and cost competitiveness.

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OTEXA’s report revealed top supplier Bangladesh’s shipments to the U.S. surged 51 percent year to date through April to $248.04 million, while imports from No. 2 production purveyor Mexico rose 27.59 percent to $229.9 million.

Asian nations among the Top 10 included Pakistan, with an import gain of 72.48 percent in the period to $151.99 million; Vietnam, up 40.94 percent to $137.38 million; China, with an increase of 20.23 percent to $110.64 million; Cambodia, up 25.7 percent to $63.52 million, and Sri Lanka, gaining 21.26 percent to $20.71 million.

Western Hemisphere suppliers also benefitted from the uptick in denim manufacturing, This included Top 10 producer Nicaragua, with an increase of 29.99 percent to $42.37 million; Colombia, up 90.77 percent to $13.8 million, and Guatemala, gaining 34.99 percent to $7.46 million.

Gap Inc. was among a group of U.S. companies that committed $1.9 billion to source from Central America to strengthen near-shore supply chains, Vice President Kamala Harris announced last week. The investment is a part of its strategy to increase supply chain resilience by nearshoring production to the Western Hemisphere, the company said.

Also notable among the Top 10 were Egypt, with shipments up 126 percent to $71.7 million in the period, and Turkey’s 55.78 percent increase to $29.08 million.