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					          BARBADOS INVESTMENT AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

                          PROFILE OF THE APPAREL SECTOR

                                  AS AT DECEMBER, 2008

INTRODUCTION

The following review presents an analysis of the performance of the apparel sector in Barbados
over the period January to December 2008, as well as an assessment of the issues and
developments that have impacted upon the sector over the past five years.

The report presents both quantitative and qualitative analyses, and makes recommendations for
further development in the sector. Key performance indicators such as employment and
investment levels, export earnings, and contribution to GDP are also presented.



EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The apparel sector remains a principal area of economic activity in Barbados despite the
consistent contraction that has taken place in the sector over the years. Local producers,
constrained by high capital and operating costs, skills and labour shortages, find that these
conditions have made it increasingly difficult for them to maintain their viability amidst
increasing competition and shrinking market bases.

While the total demand for both ladies‟ and men‟s wear is trending upward, this is often satisfied
through imported goods via retail and e-commerce trade. The demand for apparel in the local
market is also impacted by the buying habits of consumers who often seek to satisfy their
demand through shopping trips abroad and via the internet. This demand for goods sourced
externally remains fairly robust from year to year since many of the products in high demand are
not produced locally.

This high dependence on imported goods is due in part to the structure of the local
manufacturing industry where the product offering is somewhat slim, encompassing basically
mens‟ and boys‟ shirts, shorts and trousers, uniforms, T-shirts and swimwear. Government has
sought to improve the fortunes of the sector by energizing the fashion segment of the industry.
This market segment is however still very much in its infancy in terms of its organisation and
economic contribution. It is hoped that with the current initiatives in progress, the fashion
industry will become a vibrant area of enterprise which will not only bolster the flagging export
earning capacity of the apparel sector but provide new job opportunities as well.

Government‟s vision for the sector rests upon the expectation that local designers will be able to
use their unique styles and creativity to carve a niche in the export market. Towards this aim

                                                                                                1
some of the island‟s top designers have commenced production of new lines incorporating the
traditional Sea Island cotton fabric.

 In the 2007 budget, Government noted its intention to develop a vertically integrated industry,
providing top of the line fine garments and other Sea Island Cotton products. This has become
one of the major objectives of the sector as traditional products continue to lose ground in export
markets. At the end of December 2008, exports declined by 40.7% to $0.9 million, whilst
imports remained quite high at $48.0 million.

With the further liberalization of the market, there has been a noticeable increase in the range of
goods retailed in the market. In its 2006 budgetary statements, government noted its commitment
to removing protective tariffs in favour of industrial support in the form of financial and
technical assistance.

Whilst producers remain reticent that such liberalisation could severely curtail their ability to
operate profitably, government remains committed to its efforts to create a more open market.
Producers have therefore been challenged to increase their share of the local market against a
tide of cheaper imports. Added to this already challenging undertaking is the need to source
financing for upgrades; access raw materials at a reasonable cost; and ferret out skilled workers
along with young talent that can create new stylish designs.



BACKGROUND

The apparel sector has been an important segment of the industrial landscape in Barbados for
several years. Not only is it a major employer of women, but the potential that currently exists
suggest that the sector could once again become a major contributor to employment creation and
foreign exchange earnings.

A brief review of the performance of the apparel sector over the years reveals mixed fortunes and
a significant amount of unused potential. Data on the sector‟s performance over the last two
decades show the transition from „years of plenty‟ to rather lean and difficult times as is the case
today. Indeed, the sector which once boasted an employment tally of almost 4,000 persons in
1981 now employs a mere 9% of that total, with just 348 persons.

During the early 1980s, local firms sold as much as 60 to 70% of their output in the Trinidad
market. Some of the increased activity in the sector during those years could also be credited to
the offshore enterprises which accounted for 1,800 or 47% of the job opportunities provided.

Between 1981 and 1987 however, employment fell drastically by 41.7% to 2,229 and 23 firms
closed as the fortunes of the sector began to wane. Shipments fell from $70.3 million in 1983 to
$23 million by 1987 and slipped further to $15 million by 1990. During 2008 the sector exported
a mere $0.9 million in total, 1% of what it did in 1983.

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Such a sad overall performance during this period is due to an unforeseen occurrence that
displaced some of the key producers in the sector. On July 8th, 2008, a fire at the Grazettes
Industrial Park, completely destroyed several units, and caused significant damage to some
others. Several key garment manufacturers were displaced, and as a result, output and export
levels were severely dampened for the remainder of the year.

Notwithstanding this, these statistics also reveal the significant erosion that has taken place over
the years. Much has been lost in terms of jobs and foreign exchange earnings and while a
turnaround of fortunes may present several challenges, the potential for job creation and
increased export earnings is still very evident. The apparel subsector has always been a major
employer of women – 86.6% of workers in the industry are female. The performance of the
sector is therefore critical to the economic stability of many households.



STRUCTURE OF THE INDUSTRY

The BIDC database of manufacturing companies in Barbados shows that there are currently 18
garment producers operating within this sector, employing a combined total of 348 persons as of
December 2008. This level is significantly lower than previous years, falling 29% from 2007.



                                              Table I
                                              Apparel
                               Major Indicators As at December , 2008

      MAJOR INDICATORS                               2004      2005      2006       2007    2008
      No. of employees                                 490       516       519        491     348
      No. of Enterprises                                23        23        23         20      18

      Textiles & Apparel:
      Annual Domestic Exports (BDS $M)                  1.3       2.6       2.3       1.6     0.9
      Annual Imports (BDS $M)                          40.4      49.8      45.6      49.5    48.0
      Annual Domestic Output (BDS $M)                   7.5       7.5       7.6       7.0     3.5
      Source: Barbados Statistical Service; BIDC‟s Employment & Investment Survey



While manufacturing firms have varying levels of capacity, the majority of them employ less
than 25 people. Five of these companies are considered micro businesses, employing less than
five people. A wide range of products are supplied by these companies and include uniforms, t-
shirts, polo shirts, swimwear, mens‟ clothing, ladies‟ blouses, and exercise wear. The school and
industrial uniforms segment remains the principal activity within this subsector.

                                                                                                    3
                                              Table II
                              Employment & Size of Operations
                                     As at December 2008
   Size                                1-24         25-49       50-99       Over 100      Total
   No of Employees                      103              93      152            -          348
   No of establishments            14          2                  2             -           18
   Source: BIDC Quarterly Employment & Investment Survey


The Fashion segment of the Industry comprises approximately twenty (20) trained and talented
designers of fashion and accessories. Several of these designers have built up a reputation in the
region and with international visitors to the island. Through the BIDC‟s Special Technical
Assistance Programme geared toward the apparel sector, top designers are currently participating
in a comprehensive programme that should facilitate the launch of ten of the island‟s best
designers in the international market by 2012.


NEW TRENDS IN THE SUBSECTOR

The move to „go green‟ continues to be a big influence in the apparel market as evidenced by the
growing number of international brands that are turning out increasingly more eco-friendly
apparel. Terms such as „organic apparel‟, „sustainable apparel‟ have emerged as popular topics
regarding niche marketing and opportunities for growth. Organic apparel is made from
chemical- and pesticide-free materials, such as organic cotton. The momentum has stirred
designers to appeal to the social conscience of consumers and tap into their desire to be good
stewards of the earth.

This eco-friendly movement has propelled many international pioneer brands like American
Apparel, Nike, and Nordstrom to produce more of their products using organic materials. Also,
an increasing number of retail stores - especially in the USA - are also carrying some organic
cotton products, including T-shirts and tank tops like the ones made by producers like Eileen
Fisher. Other designers are making jeans out of organic cottons, using vegetable dyes to color T-
shirt designs and hemp to make fitted jackets

Global Organic Cotton production has soared seeing a huge increase in sales. Most of this is due
to the new appeal and high demand in various textile segments of the industry, mainly apparel,
home product, and the personal care industries.

According to the Organic Cotton Market Report released by the Organic Exchange, a non-profit
organisation, there was a 63% increase in organic cotton sales from the US $1.9 billion recorded
in 2007. The top organic cotton contenders included industry leaders like Wal-Mart, C&A,


                                                                                                  4
H&M, Zara, Anbil, Coop Switzerland, Pottery Barn, Greensource and Hess Natur. These
companies pledge their commitment to producing sustainable apparel and are expected to be at
the forefront of the organic cotton industry in its expected expansion of up to 33%, or an
estimated US $5.3 billion by 2010.

Another major trend in the apparel sector is the shift toward expanding product lines to include
plus size apparel. Despite the recent shift toward adopting healthier lifestyles, for years global
food consumption patterns has meant that the average dress size for women was a size 14. This
size is considered a „plus size‟ and many major producers and retailers have tended to ignore
sizes above size 10 for many years, leaving the average female consumer struggling to find
proper clothes in their size.

Around the end of 2007 and into 2008, increasingly more producers and retailers have extended
their product lines to include sizes catering to plus size women up to 3XL or size 24. Major
retailers such as Forever 21, Old Navy, Gap, JC Penney, Aéropostale, American Eagle, and
many others have all made the move, resulting in an expansion of sales revenue due to the higher
prices charged for clothing in this category.



SECTOR PERFORMANCE

The challenges previously highlighted have had quite a significant impact on the sector‟s
performance over the years. This is evidenced by the limited growth recorded in many of the key
performance indicators in the sector, namely exports and employment levels. Imported clothing
continues to permeate the local market causing the sector to shrink every year.



I.         Employment Indicators

At the end of December 2008 employment totalled 348 as compared with 491 recorded at the
previous year. This represented a contraction in employment of about 29%.




                                                                                                5
                                                      Table IV
                                          Employment at December 1999 - 2008

                                               Year           No. of Employees
                                               1999                  868
                                               2000                  681
                                               2001                  570
                                               2002                  575
                                               2003                  539
                                               2004                  490
                                               2005                  516
                                               2006                  519
                                               2007                  491
                                               2008                  348




                                     Employment as at December: 1999 - 2008
                                  1,000
                                    900
                                    800
               No. of Employees




                                    700
                                    600
                                    500
                                    400
                                    300
                                    200
                                    100
                                      0
                                          1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

                                                             Year
            Source: BIDC Employment and Investment Survey



II.       Investment Trends


Investment activity within the sector during 2008 showed some improvement with respect to
levels recorded in 2007. Total investment was posted at $1.2 million – 90.6% higher than in
2007. This large jump in investment activity was due to one company purchasing a substantial
amount of new machinery and equipment. It is believed that this is a rather modest estimate of

                                                                                              6
the actual investment in the sector because many operators are often very reluctant to reveal their
actual investment into their operations. Nevertheless, producers still cite the lack of equity and
low cost funds as the major constraints to greater investment in the sector.


                                                     Table VIII
                                                    Investment at
                                                 December 1999 - 2008

                                                                Total
                                                   Year
                                                               (BDS$)
                                                   1999        587,844
                                                   2000        134,059
                                                   2001        249,320
                                                   2002         80,880
                                                   2003       1,731,091
                                                   2004        456,849
                                                   2005         66,500
                                                   2006         96,000
                                                   2007        610,000
                                                   2008       1,163,000



                                        Investment at December: 1999 - 2008
                               2.0
                               1.8
                               1.6
                               1.4
                               1.2
             BDS $ Millions




                               1.0
                               0.8
                               0.6
                               0.4
                               0.2
                               0.0
                                     1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
                                                                  Year

                              Source: BIDC Employment and Investment Survey


III.       Export Performance

Once an industry with shipments exceeding $70 million, the garment sector has seen its export
fortunes diminish significantly over the last two decades. Against a backdrop of intense
                                                                                                 7
competition in regional and international markets, shipments of apparel products to these
markets have fallen almost consistently every year. 2008 marked the worst export performance
of the apparel sector in the last ten years, with just $0.9 million being exported.


                                                       Table IX
                                               Annual Exports: 1999 - 2008
                                                        (BDS$)

                                                 Year                   Exports
                                                 1999               6,050,203
                                                 2000               5,786,824
                                                 2001               3,436,380
                                                 2002               1,432,531
                                                 2003               1,888,338
                                                 2004               1,262,036
                                                 2005               2,592,516
                                                 2006               2,326,982
                                                 2007               1,591,379
                                                 2008                943,484




                         Export Performance of Apparel Sector: 1999 - 2008
                       7,000
                               6,050
                                       5,786
                       6,000
                       5,000
           BDS $'000




                       4,000                    3,436
                       3,000                                                      2,592
                                                                                          2,326
                                                                1,888
                       2,000                            1,432                                     1,591
                                                                         1,262
                                                                                                          943
                       1,000
                          0
                               1999    2000     2001    2002    2003     2004     2005    2006    2007    2008


        Source: Barbados Statistical Service

The meagre performance in exports was due mainly to contraction in the amount of mens‟
trousers and cotton t-shirts that were shipped during the year. Mens‟ trousers, the largerst export
earner in the previous calendar year, were down 59% in 2008 with only $0.2 million being sold.

                                                                                                                 8
Cotton t-shirts which is the second largest export-earner also performed badly, with exports
dipping by 42%.

CARICOM countries continued to dominate the market for Barbadian-made apparel during
2008. Grenada was the principle export market, accounting for 22% or $0.2 million of total
exports. This country emerged as the leading market for cotton t-shirts, purchasing 55% of all t-
shirts exported. Trinidad & Tobago, as well as St. Lucia also made relatively healthy
contributions to apparel exports during this period; however, retailers in these countries
demanded mainly mens‟ trousers.




                  Main Export Markets for Apparel During 2008

                                        ANTIGUA
                                         $70,654
                              ST.VINCENT
                                $77,794                 GRENADA
                                                        $191,567
                          BR. VIRGIN IS.
                            $ 88,447

                                    ST. LUCIA        TRINIDAD
                                    $101,821         $109,349




            Source: Barbados Statistical Service



IV.        Impact of Competition - Imports

Although there has been some fluctuation in imports over the years, the trend has generally been
upwards. Imports fell slightly by 3% during the review period to $48.0 million.




                                                                                               9
                                                    Table IX
                                           Annual Imports: 1999 - 2008
                                                     (Bds$)

                                             Year           Imports
                                             1999          38,482,725
                                             2000          42,715,217
                                             2001          43,988,797
                                             2002          38,703,178
                                             2003          40,044,167
                                             2004          40,431,380
                                             2005          49,839,491
                                             2006          45,565,434
                                             2007          49,511,012
                                             2008          47,988,166




                                  Imports of Apparel: 1999 - 2008
                60,000

                                                                         49,839            49,511
                50,000                                                                              47,988
                                                                                  45,565
                                  42,715 43,989
                                                                40,431
                         38,483                   38,703 40,044
                40,000
    BDS $'000




                30,000


                20,000


                10,000


                    0
                         1999     2000    2001    2002   2003    2004    2005     2006     2007     2008
                                                             Year

Source: Barbados Statistical Service




                                                                                                             10
The USA, China and Trinidad & Tobago have been the principal suppliers of garments into the
local market over the past year. The principal imports from the USA are men‟s or boys‟ trousers
and shorts, shirts; women‟s and girls‟ dresses; whilst China‟s shipments are primarily men‟s or
boys‟ trousers and shorts, shirts of cotton, women‟s and girls‟ trousers and shorts, skirts and
blouses.

As much as 42% ($20.1 million) of total apparel imports were sourced from the USA. China in
particular has become one of the leading suppliers of garments with shipments rising steadily
between 2001 and 2008. China‟s reliance on its “survival of the cheapest” approach has created
a production glut that places enormous pressures on wages, working conditions, and profit
margins at the factory level. Notwithstanding this, Barbados sourced 21% of its imported apparel
from this nation, spending a total of $10.1 million.



           MAJOR SOURCES OF APPAREL IMPORTS DURING 2008

              GRENADA,
              $1,181,620
                                        OTHERS,
    ITALY,
                                       $8,507,984
 $1,184,028

      UNITED
     KINGDOM,
                                                          UNITED STATES,
     $1,605,720
                      TRINIDAD                             $20,146,901
                      $5,241,251


                                         CHINA,
                                       $10,120,662




Source: Barbados Statistical Service


Imports of apparel outstrip local production by a significant margin. In the absence of statistics
for local production this observation may be supported by the large trade deficit which currently
stands at $47.0 million.


                                                                                               11
Non-knitted female clothing remained the largest product grouping being imported with
shipments valued at $14.3 million, 1.3% lower than its 2007 value. Conversely, domestic
exports in this category were a mere $0.09 million for 2008.

                                         Table X
                           Exports & Imports by Product Category
                                   As At December 2008

                                                              Exports          Imports
         Groups                 Description
                                                              ($ fob)           ($ cif)
           841     Male Clothing-Non Knitted                  462,542        11,911,757
           842     Female Clothing Non Knitted                 93,220        14,327,231
           843     Male Clothing Knitted                       55,426         1,527,244
           844     Female Clothing Knitted                     24,020         1,745,330
           845     Articles Of Apparel Nes                    235,542         9,228,895
           846     Clothing Accessories                         7,323         2,959,122
           848     Headgear-Non Textile Clothing               65,411         6,288,587
         Source: Barbados Statistical Service


V.         Output Indicators

A comparison of the output indicators for the industry over the last two years highlight that the
performance of the apparel sector has been dismal. The Index of Industrial Production is a
common indicator used by policymakers to measure the level of productivity within a sector over
a period of time. It is expressed in relation to a specified base year, which in this case is 1994.
The index of production in the sector shows an 8.5 point decline below 2007‟s value. In other
words, the level of production in 2007 was 79.5% lower than the 1994 level, and further declined
by 8.5% in 2008. The provisional estimated contribution of the apparel sector toward total
nominal Gross Domestic Product registered at $3.5 million for the year, which is half the amount
of output the sector generated in the previous year.

                                         Table XX
                                       Apparel Sector
                           Output Indicators As At December 2008

                   Output Indicator                               2007 2008
                   Index of Industrial Production                 20.5 12.0
                   Contribution to GDP                             7.0 3.5P
                   Source: Barbados Statistical Service
                   P
                     represents a provisional estimate


                                                                                                12
GOVERNMENT POLICY WITH RESPECT TO THE INDUSTRY

In the Financial Statements and Budgetary Proposals for 2008, Prime Minister and Minister of
Finance, the honourable David Thompson, pledged the Government‟s continued efforts to
“successfully develop [the] Sea Island Cotton industry into a major component of our
agricultural sector, largely because of the great potential that the careful development of this
industry holds for the redevelopment of an indigenous Barbados garment industry.” The Prime
Minister also relayed that these renewed efforts will not be capital-intensive efforts, but will
“focus more on joint venture arrangements with a select number of investors who are able to
bring different benefits to us in the development of the industry.” Policymakers had great faith
that for the 2008-09 financial year, that these ventures in the area of Sea Island Cotton would be
the driving force for growth in the manufacturing sector and reiterated an overall aim of
developing “a viable, high fashion, high quality textile and garment industry based on sea-island
cotton, with world class design and world class manufacturing quality, through joint venture and
franchise arrangements.”

Towards this aim government through its developmental agency the BIDC will seek to:

       Provide technical assistance required for a range of designers to be export ready and
       launched internationally by 2012.
       Earn foreign exchange of $15 million by 2012
       Create a name for Barbados in the international market as a producer of high fashion
       designs, garment and other apparel items
       Develop branded designs for segments of the local market
       Create the infrastructure for exhibition facilities, production systems, marketing and
       distribution mechanisms, quality control systems and ongoing training.


OPPORTUNITIES

Though current conditions present major challenges for the sector, it is believed there are some
opportunities which may be explored further to re-ignite the engine of a once vibrant industry. In
terms of the domestic market, there is a ready market for premium women‟s business suits since
the principal consumers are women who spend a significant portion of their disposable income
on clothing. Price and quality are however important factors in increasing domestic market share.

In addition to the domestic market, it must be recognized that there are opportunities for further
expansion in apparel for the cruise and tourist market. Again cost would be critical here as well
as designs and visual appeal.

In terms of offshore export markets, there must be greater effort made to take advantage of the
trade agreements to which Barbados is a signatory. As a member of the CARIFORUM grouping
of States, Barbados now benefits under the newly-signed Economic Partnership Agreement to

                                                                                               13
the extent that it is now allowed cumulation for garment exports to the European Union. In other
words, garment producers are now able to source cloth from another country, produce garments,
and export them to the EU with duty-free, quota-free (DFQF) access. This presents great
opportunities for local and regional garment producers because under the previous Cotonou
Agreement, in order for a locally produced garment to qualify for DFQF access to the EU it had
to undergo double transformation in Barbados, i.e. from yarn to cloth first, and then from cloth to
apparel.

The EU, which comprises of 27 Member States and approximately 491 million people, is one of
the world‟s largest net importers. While various technical barriers to entry deter many producers
from developing countries, there is still great scope for this market due to the fact that it is a free
trade area. Therefore, once products are able to enter the market of at least one of the 27 states,
then these products can move freely through all Member States. If local producers are interested
in tapping into this market, close attention must therefore be paid to establishing good
distribution chains and networks to ensure that products are able to penetrate as many market
segments as possible.

In terms of the US market, there is very intense competition; however some level of niche
marketing could provide opportunities for small producers as well. For instance it is believed that
specially designed t-shirts and sportswear could be marketed to the Barbadians Diaspora
(Barbadians living abroad). Some companies have already begun targeting this market, with
great success.

The idea of brand development must also be thoroughly explored particularly for fashion
garments produced by local designers, several of whom have already made impressive showings
on the regional stage, and are eagerly looking forward to further exposure on the international
scene.

With the resurgence of interest in the Sea Island cotton project, it is believed that some
opportunities for backward and forward linkages do exist with this project. The production of
Barbadian cotton, spun, woven and finished into unique high value garments certainly offers
some prospects for the industry given that enough cotton can be grown for processing. It is
recognized that in the initial stages the production and export of yarn may be the first step in this
new industry but it is expected that finished goods would be the ultimate goal.

There is a need to adopt an integrated, systemic view of the entire industry using an approach
that has come to be known as the sectoral method. Systematic interventions raise the
effectiveness of job training by coordinating it with industry restructuring, helping a sector
reorganise and reposition itself in ways that increase its demand for better-paid, better trained
workers. The intensive demonstration and information brokering services will help garment
companies re-think their established relationships with their workers and their markets.



                                                                                                    14
As part of this restructuring effort apparel firms would also be required to make major attitudinal
shifts and organisational changes if the sector is to recover. Access to finance will be critical if
producers are expected to invest in new machinery to realise production efficiency. Greater effort
must be made to replace old production techniques as well as utilising workers in new ways. The
sector‟s comparative advantages must also be carefully reanalysed, whilst new market niches and
business alliances have to be fully exploited. Government, in consultation with the private sector,
must correctly identify the major issues for increased competition. The basic problems of quality
control, delivery and productivity must be addressed for gradual and steady increase in value
added.



OUTLOOK/PROSPECTS

Traditionally, the garment industry has been a reliable provider of job opportunities and foreign
exchange earnings for the Barbadian economy. Though there has been considerable fallout over
the last decade, there still remains significant capabilities and investment that should be
preserved within the industry. This will call for a new approach to the idea of developing the
industry and effectively marketing its output. In short, the sector not only requires a considerable
financial investment but also commitment to a change in attitude, greater coordination of efforts
between producers, private and public sector agencies, innovative and aggressive training and
education, and a willingness on the part of the producers to be flexible and to embrace the
changes that are required.

As the global market for garments and apparel becomes more and more competitive with fast
improvements in technology and highly differentiated products, local producers seeking to make
a statement on the world market must establish niches which are compatible with their
capabilities and which will prove competitive in the ever-evolving trading environment. It is also
imperative that local producers understand the markets in which they are doing business, as well
as the needs of customers within these markets.

Recognising that Barbados cannot compete with low wage locations in Asia and Latin America,
a new approach must be embraced. Where labour is a big proportion of the overall price of a
product, Barbados will not be competitive. However it must be noted that some countries who
have relatively high labour rates, such as New Zealand, have made their mark around the world
through high value-added manufacturing. The exposure of its top high fashion and sportswear
designers in international shows has resulted in a tremendous growth in their local industry.

Against a backdrop of increasing competition from abroad, Barbadian apparel producers must
draw from the New Zealand case study and seek to transform themselves by focusing on higher
value-added activities, innovative and attractive new products, and through identifying and
successfully establishing niche markets for their products.


                                                                                                 15
 Also critical for success will be the government‟s ability to address a number of issues external
 to the apparel sector that negatively impact upon the industry‟s competitiveness, including
 energy and transport costs.

 The vision for the apparel industry beyond 2008 is one which has been captured in
 Government‟s economic policies and initiatives for the coming years. The following
 recommendations are therefore made in light of the vision for the industry.



 RECOMMENDATIONS

 Government through its industrial development arm, the BIDC, and other development
 agencies should seek to:

1.   Project a positive vision for the future of the country‟s apparel sector

2.   Address the cost of electricity. Whilst this is a complex issue that has wide ranging
     implications for the apparel producers the impact of energy costs on the overall cost structure
     of apparel producers remains a major issue for the sector.

3.   Facilitate productivity improvement through training programs geared at developing skilled
     sewing machine operators, supervisors and technicians. Work with training institutions must
     be aimed at addressing the needs of the sector. The perception among producers is that the
     existing training programmes are primarily designed to support individual entrepreneurs
     interested in starting microenterprises. This is different from the kind of training needed to
     develop a modern industrial labour force with the range of skills that existing manufacturers
     require.

4.   Identify adequate sources of financing for the sector. Appropriate revision of Government‟s
     credit financing schemes such as the Small Business Credit Guarantee Scheme and the
     Export Credit Guarantee Scheme should be undertaken. (A recent review of these schemes
     found them to be ineffective in addressing the needs of the manufacturing sector)

5.   With the relevant technical assistance, assist the micro businesses to expand their share of the
     custom-made domestic market.




The Private Sector can assist in revamping the sector by aiming to:

6.   Explore alternative fabric suppliers within close proximity and shipping route.

                                                                                                  16
7.   Undertake a detailed assessment of the composition of production, both in terms of product
     mix and client base. The goal of local producers should be to transition towards higher value
     added products and processes. Through more intensive research and development efforts,
     products should be identified that are viable given the island‟s competitive advantages,
     capabilities or potentialities.

8.   Re-examine the organization of production at the plant level. With the aid of the BIDC‟s
     Special Technical Assistance Programme the necessary modifications should be initiated to
     improve productivity and export capabilities.

Joint Private-Public sector collaboration should be encouraged in this effort, so as to:

9.   Strengthen the relationship between private sector, training institutions, and the distribution
     sector in the process of improving the industry by inviting their reflections on its strengths
     and weaknesses. Effective collaboration between the private sector and training institutions is
     critical so that the services offered match the needs of local manufacturers, their workforces
     and their clients. Emphasis should be placed on initiating dialogue regarding the types of
     training modules and programs that can best assist companies.

10. Explore ways of increasing value added of Barbadian apparel industry.

11. Create opportunities where talented designers can work with apparel firms to promote
    Barbadian originality.

12. Explore the viability of a bulk purchasing facility/arrangement for small producers. Explore
    ways of increasing value added of Barbadian apparel industry.

13. Work together to penetrate the European market in light of the revised Rules of Origin of the
    CARIFORUM-EU EPA.


 Research, Information & Design Services (RIDS) Division
 August, 2009




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