U.S. apparel imports increased in September compared to the same month in 2014, but not to the heady levels of August, when more than $10 billion worth of imported apparel clogged U.S. stores and warehouses, causing retailers to slow down shipments where possible after a less than stellar Back-To-School season.
According to the latest Commerce Department data, total apparel imports rose by 1.8% in September, a much smaller increase than August’s almost 9 percent increase, to $9.3 billion on a CIF basis.
The apparel import increase contrasted sharply with total U.S. imports in the month, which fell by 5.7% to $193 billion despite the purchasing power of the stronger U.S. dollar.
On a 12-month smoothed basis, which corrects for volatility of data in a particular month, apparel import growth was 5.2% in September, its second biggest monthly jump in almost four years.
Apparel exports outperformed the total export market as well, falling by 4.2% compared to last September, to $515 million, while total U.S. exports of goods and services dropped by 5.9%. On a 12-month smoothed basis, apparel exports increased by almost 1 percent, their smallest monthly increase in five and a half years.