Industry representatives are optimistic about 2013, largely due to a stronger supply chain. The news, gathered by fibre2fashion from industry executives, comes despite cooling markets in the EU and US, serious compliance issues in Bangladesh, and the specter of a China slowdown.
Rahual Mehta, president of the Clothing Manufacturers Association of India, said, “We are expecting that we will end the year with 10-12 percent growth over last year.” Estimates from the government of India indicate that actual exports will be up as much as 35 percent over 2012.
Mehta says that much of the growth will come from rising value per unit, not from rising volume. He anticipates the country continuing to lose cheap commodity share to Bangladesh and other locations with duty free preferences.
Textile and apparel manufacturers in Portugal are also having a good year, according to Miguel Mendes, spokesperson of A. Sampaio. The company has been able to leverage its solid textile supply chain and strong customer relations to maintain growth and trust, despite trying economic times.
Overall, demand in Europe is down for 2013 and 2014. New retail locations are scarce, and even prosperous markets are struggling with falling demand and an increasingly grim macroeconomic picture. However, the optimism of executives could mean that strong firms and brands will diversify beyond the European market.
H&M and Zara have already made big bets on markets outside Europe, including China and the Americas. Those new ventures are expected to provide growth if Europe continues to stagnate.
In the UK, Paul Kendrick, director of the JD Williams Group, said, “In Europe, we believe the economic outlook of apparel retailing will remain tough throughout 2013-14, impacting consumer shopping patterns.”
Prices are expected to remain more or less flat in Europe, and strong retailers will win share at the expense of others.