U.S. apparel imports increased in November compared to the same month in 2014, outpacing overall goods and services imports in the month.
However, the pace of incoming apparel shipments to the U.S. were not nearly at the levels seen in the summer of 2015, when shipments of apparel clogged U.S. stores and warehouses, and a slower-than-expected Back-To-School season caused retailers to temper their expectations for Holiday and adjust orders accordingly.
The latest Commerce Department data showed that total apparel imports rose by 5.5% in November, to $7.1 billion on a CIF basis.
The apparel import increase contrasted sharply with total U.S. imports in the month, which fell by 4 percent to $184 billion despite the greater purchasing power of the stronger U.S. dollar. A significant decline in electronics products such as cell phones was responsible for much of the drop.
On a 12-month smoothed basis, which corrects for volatility of data in a particular month, apparel import growth was 4.2% in November, up slightly from 4 percent in October.
Apparel exports outperformed the total export market as well, falling by only 1.2% compared to last November, to $576 million, while total U.S. exports of goods and services plunged by 10.7%. On a 12-month smoothed basis, apparel exports dipped by almost 1 percent, their worst showing since March 2010.