In last week’s edition I reviewed the latest on consumer confidence and clothing retail sales in the major wool consuming markets. I noted that consumer confidence in the US had improved from the COVID-induced depths in April. As well, clothing retail sales in the US were showing tentative signs of a revival. This is important as we are now into the start of the Autumn/Winter season in the US, which is a key selling period for wool clothing. The question is, how are the supplies of wool clothing shaping up to be available at retail?
The latest US import data, which is to September, are disappointing. The July-November period is the major time for US imports of wool clothing. In that three-month period this year, US imports of wool clothing have dropped by 42% in quantity and in value compared with the same period in 2019. This drop has been caused by the double-whammy of the still-high US import duties on imports of clothing form China (which were imposed in mid-September 2019) and the COVID-19 pandemic.
US imports of clothing made from cotton and from synthetic fibres have seen a drop in this three-month period, but not to the same extent. Cotton clothing imports were down by 11% in volume and 20% in value, while synthetic fibre clothing imports were 15% lower in volume and 25% lower in value. Let’s hope that US imports of wool clothing in October and November are on the improve.
Further details, including a chart showing the trends in the volume and value of wool clothing imports by the US, are provided in the full edition of the Weekly Newsletter. Available to NCWSBA members.