Sri Lanka apparel exports up 7.8-pct in Aug despite Brexit hit

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s apparel exports grew 7.8 percent from a year earlier to 444 million dollars in August 2018, despite a fall in exports to the European Union amid Brexit troubles, data from the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF), an industry body, showed.

Exports to the EU fell 7.8 percent in August 2018 from a year earlier to 177 million dollars.

"The Brexit problem is disturbing the market," JAAF Secretary General Tuli Cooray said.

The British market, currently in turmoil over the uncertainty of the terms of its exit from the EU, is the biggest for Sri Lankan apparel within the EU.

The UK took in 40.9 percent of Sri Lankan apparel exports to Europe in 2017.

Payment platform Visa said that despite a small uptick in consumer spending in the UK in August, household expenditure fell again in September, reflecting an ongoing trend due to financial uncertainty.

Shipments to the US grew 21.5 percent from a year earlier to 209 million dollars in August 2018.

"Exports to the US were similar to seasonal trends from earlier years," Cooray said.

Sri Lanka is a big supplier to US-based Victoria’s Secret. The brand has been hit by competition in the recent past.

Although sales for Victoria’s Secret, fell 5 percent in August from a year earlier, sales grew 1 percent in September, interim financials of the parent, L Brands, showed.

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Fluctuating Victoria’s Secret sales over the past two years had trickled down to Sri Lanka’s apparel exports to the US.

But Sri Lankan apparel manufacturers have coped by increasing sales to other brands such as Calvin Klein, which are capitalising on new consumer trends to compete with Victoria’s Secret’s traditional products, industry analysts say.

Apparel exports to other markets were up 20.8 percent to 58 million dollars from a year earlier.

Exports for the first eight months of 2018 were up 4.5 percent to 3.3 billion dollars from 2017.

Exports to the US were up 4.4 percent to 1.4 billion dollars from a year earlier and shipments to the EU were up 5.1 percent to 1.4 billion dollars up to August. (COLOMBO, Oct 13, 2018)
 

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