Archive for the ‘clothing’ Category

Retail sales fall by record amount in October

November 14, 2008

Retail sales plunged by the largest amount on record in October as the financial crisis and the slumping economy caused consumers to sharply cut back on their spending.

The Commerce Department said Friday that retail sales fell by 2.8 percent last month, surpassing the old mark of a 2.65 percent drop in November 2001 in the wake of the terrorist attacks that year.


The decline in sales was led by a huge drop in auto purchases, but sales of all types of products from furniture to clothing fell as consumers retrenched.

The 2.8 percent drop marked the fourth consecutive monthly decline in retail sales and was much bigger than the 2 percent fall economists expected.

The weakness was led by a 5.5 percent plunge in auto sales, the biggest drop since August 2005. Auto companies reported unit sales fell to the lowest level in 17 years as potential buyers, frightened by all the turmoil on Wall Street, stayed away from auto showrooms.

Excluding autos, retail sales fell by 2.2 percent, also a record decline, underscoring the widespread weakness last month.

Consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of total economic activity and weakness in this area was the major factor dragging down overall economic growth in the July-September quarter. The gross domestic product fell 0.3 percent at an annual rate during the third quarter, the strongest signal yet that the country has fallen into a recession.

Many economists believe the GDP will drop by an even bigger amount in the current October-December period and will continue falling through the first two quarters of next year. They are expecting that the financial crisis, the worst in seven decades, will produce the country’s worst recession since the 1981-1982 downturn.

The government reported last week that the unemployment rate shot up to 6.5 percent in October, and many economists believe it will top 8 percent before the economy starts to mount a sustained rebound.

The retail sales report showed that sales at general merchandise stores, the category that includes big chains such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and department stores, fell by 0.4 percent, while sales at specialty clothing stores were down a bigger 1.4 percent.

Sales at furniture stores dropped by 2.5 percent, with sales at appliance stores and sport goods stores also showing declines.

One of the few areas to show an increase was the category that includes restaurants and bars which posted a small 0.3 percent gain, perhaps reflecting the desire of some to seek solace during turbulent economic times.


Vietnam seeks diversified export

October 18, 2008

By Han Qiao Xinhua
Manila Sunday Times

HANOI: Vietnam, depending on the U.S. and European Union (EU) markets for more than one third of its exports, is beginning to tap more potential markets in the wake of the U.S. financial crisis and possible economic downturn in the United States and some European countries.

A farmer works on a paddy field in Vietnam's northern Bac ... 
A farmer works on a paddy field in Vietnam’s northern Bac Ninh province, 40 km (25 miles) north of Hanoi October 11, 2008.REUTERS/Kham (VIETNAM)

The export turnover of Vietnam is expected to reach 65 billion U.S. dollars this year, a leap of 33.9 percent over 2007 and the biggest increase in the past decade, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung told a National Assembly session this week.

The impressive figure, on one hand, was thanks to rising international prices, especially in the first seven months of this year, of Vietnam’s major export items, like crude oil, coal, rice and coffee, said experts here. On the other hand, it was an achievement of the Vietnamese government’s huge efforts to boost exports.

But experts also warned that some Vietnamese export items, like coffee and garments, were depending too much on the U.S. and EU market, and it is likely to be hurt badly if no changes on export strategy is made.

Figures from the General Statistics Office of Vietnam showed that in the first nine months this year, the United States remained the biggest export market for Vietnam. Export value to the U.S. market stood at 8.5 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 17.4 percent of the total. It was followed by export to the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) with 17.2 percent, EU 16 percent, Australia 7.2 percent, and China 6.7 percent.

Exports to the United States and EU, however, have already showed….

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New Zealand investigates formaldehyde content in Chinese clothing imports

August 20, 2007

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – New Zealand’s government is investigating clothing imports from China after some were found to contain dangerously high levels of the chemical formaldehyde, officials said Monday.

The probe was ordered after scientists testing clothes for TV3’s “Target” consumer watchdog program discovered formaldehyde concentrations up to 900 times above the safe level in woolen and cotton clothes from China.

Formaldehyde _ a preservative that is used to give a permanent press effect to clothes and also as an embalming fluid _ can cause problems ranging from skin rashes to cancer.

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