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Ten momentous buzzes from retailer’s world

The retail industry is as competitive as it can get. With increasing amount of shoppers are now purchasing products from online stores, especially in US and Asia, so retailers need to up their game to attract customers. For this world retailers are boosting up themselves with a lot of innovation, options, and refined research tools. This is the section of BTT where we try to enlighten you with most recent actions of these retailers around the earth. You are also requested to send related news to me, farhan@textiletoday.com.bd.

H&M to source from Ethiopia

More than a year after H&M revealed it was looking to source garments from Ethiopia, the Swedish fashion apparel retailer has joined forces with state investment firm Swed fund to help develop the country’s textile and clothing industry. The partnership, which will start this autumn, will see the companies work together to develop high social and environmental standards in the sector, helping it to “operate and thrive with financial strength and on a sustainable basis”. The plans were developed during a series of joint factory visits in Ethiopia in May this year.

H&M will offer its knowledge of the textile and clothing market, as well as purchase products from suppliers that Swed fund will invest in. In return, Swed fund will provide local market expertise and will invest in H&M suppliers. Both companies will also set standards for sustainable production and follow-up indicators such as water use and wages. Investing in production ensures that added value from the textile industry will to a larger extent remain in the country, they stressed.

Walmart– India management reviewed

Walmart Stores has moved ArvindMediratta, chief operating officer of its Indian unit, to the US retail business as a senior vice president, according to two company officials familiar with the matter. Mediratta will be based at the headquarters of the world’s largest retailer in Bentonville, Arkansas, said the people who asked not to be identified as they aren’t authorized to speak with the media.

The US retailer terminated its six-year partnership with Bharti in October last year, choosing instead to focus on its network of wholesale-only stores. In India, Walmart operates 20 wholesale stores where only registered traders can shop. The company plans to add 50 more in the country over the next four to five years and started a website in June to allow its business customers to order online.

Levi’s unveils new denim jeans for kids – Knit Denim

Founder of the blue denim jeans – Levi’s has launched a new jeans for kids – Knit Denim, which has the looks of denim jeans but feel like sweat pants. With a roomy cut designed to promote movement, the heritage-style knit denim gives kids the look they want without the harsh fabric. Just like traditional jeans, the styles feature real hardware like buttons and rivets, and are available in an assortment of washes for both girls and boys. Alongside, Levi’s is also offering a matching knit denim jacket. The Knit Denim has been in a variety of cuts. Styles for boys include straight-legs and cargos, while girls can choose from trendy skinny jeans and joggers.

Zara launches online store in Mexico

Inditex-owned Zara began selling online in Mexico from this month. The e-commerce store offers online shoppers the full range of women’s, men’s and children’s items that are available in stores at the same prices. The Spanish retailer has a long history with Mexico. Mexico was one of Zara’s first international destinations when it broke into the market in 1992, following its expansion in Portugal and France. Today Zara operates 59 stores in Mexico. In total, Inditex Group is represented in more than 260 stores in Mexico across its Zara, Pull&Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho, Zara Home and Uterqüe brands.

Zara’s e-commerce launch in Mexico is the latest in the brand’s global roll out of online stores. The company began selling its products online in 2010 in European markets. It has since expanded its online footprint to 25 markets including the U.S., Japan, China and Canada.

J.C. Penney launches online sports fan shop

J.C. Penney is expanding its roster of retail partnerships. The company announced the launch of an all new Sports Fan Shop experience on its e-commerce site that will be powered by Fanatics, the largest online retailer of officially licensed sports merchandise.

Fanatics, which operates the e-commerce platform for hundreds of collegiate and professional sports teams, leagues and media sites, will make its assortment of over 300,000 licensed products spanning all major sports leagues available to JCPenney.com customers. The Sports Fan Shop introduces new sport-related product categories to the J.C. Penney consumer. Shoppers will also benefit from a flexible return policy and low-cost shipping options. Fanatics’ multiple distribution outlets across the country will ensure quick delivery throughout the U.S.

Gap report outlines issues with sourcing in Myanmar

As the first American retailer to resume sourcing in Myanmar since U.S.-levied sanctions were eased following the country’s military rule, Gap Inc. elected to publish a report evaluating its supply chain risks to paint a picture of local conditions and aid in development of responsible sourcing practices for the Southeast Asian nation.

In a voluntary report to the U.S. State Department titled, “Responsible Sourcing in Myanmar,” Gap outlined the challenges affecting the apparel industry that could potentially pose a risk to both garment workers and retailers. Gap, which is currently sourcing finished outerwear for its Old Navy and Banana Republic Factory brands from two third party factories in Yangon, said it engaged in extensive consultations with stakeholders about human rights issues in the country, and how these issues could affect its business.

Target Australia discloses Bangladesh factories

Target Australia has published a list of its Bangladesh factory partners in an effort to maintain transparency in the wake of recent tragedies in the low-wage nation’s garment sector. The retailer disclosed the factories and said supply chain transparency was key to improving working conditions and safety standards in Bangladesh. Target listed the names of 37 Bangladeshi suppliers on its website, and intends to publish details of factory partners from all sourcing countries by the end of 2015.

The discount retailer was one of the first Australian companies to sign on to the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety and one of the first to commit to publishing details about its suppliers. Oxfam Australia, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting poverty, said Target’s move is a “crucial step” toward bettering conditions for workers in Bangladesh and called on other Australian retailers to be transparent about where they source their garments.

Target joins Kmart and Woolworths, which have also already disclosed their Bangladesh factory suppliers, and VF Corp. announced in June that it would reveal the names and locations of the 91 factories it uses in Bangladesh.

Ralph Lauren instigates wearbale tech polo

Ralph Lauren is serving biometrics on the tennis court with its new Polo Tech shirt. Equipped with sensors knitted into the core of the product that can read biological and physiological information, the compression shirt is designed to improve the wearer’s general wellness and increase personal fitness. The shirt unveiled during the first day of the US Open tennis tournament in New York.

The shirt was developed with proprietary technology from Canadian-based OMsignal, which offers a platform that delivers a variety of physiological data through seamless apparel directly to the users via an app on their smartphone. The data collected by the shirt is stored by a “black box,” which transmits the information into a cloud where it is plugged into algorithms that reads heartbeat and respiration, as well as stress level and energy output.

Kmart to commence Jillian Michaels activewear

Kmart is getting into shape, and like millions of Americans before it, the retailer is doing it with the help of fitness trainer Jillian Michaels. The discount retailer will launch Impact by Jillian Michaels, a collection of women’s technical yoga, core training, running and lifestyle apparel and accessories on kmart.com. The line, produced by IFG, rolled out in 500 Kmart stores on Aug.

Made with moisture-wicking and quick-drying properties, the line’s fitted silhouettes, lightweight fabric and invigorating pops of color add the fashion panache that has fueled the popularity of the burgeoning activewear category. Priced $10.99 to $36.99, the collection will be on Kmart’s more premium end of product.

Japan Uniqlo sales climb as cool end-August boosts autumn clothing

Fast Retailing Co said same-store sales at its flagship Uniqlo clothing stores in Japan edged above target in the business year ended in August as cool weather late last month spurred an early start to buying of warmer clothing for autumn. Spending per customer rose a record 15.1 percent in August at Japanese Uniqlo stores open at least a year, the company said. That helped boost overall same-store sales for the month by 3.8 percent, despite a nearly 10 percent drop in customer traffic.

For the company’s financial year to end-August, Uniqlo same-store sales rose 1.9 percent, exceeding the full-year target of 1.6 percent growth. Autumn-winter items are typically more expensive than summer clothing, and Uniqlo is also implementing price increases of about 5 percent with this year’s autumn-winter collections.

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