A year-on-year higher presence of shoppers during holiday sales in the US featuring Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday is expected to deplete inventories, signaling a strong rebound in apparel shipment from Bangladesh.
National Retail Federation (NRF), the largest retail federation in the US which contributes $3.9 trillion to annual GDP, defines the holiday season as November 1 through December 31.
Thanksgiving Day is observed on November 23, Black Friday is the first Friday after the holiday whereas Cyber Monday the Monday afterwards. Christmas Day is observed on December 25.
During this season, sales of goods, especially garments, soar for a spending spree of consumer who are mainly drawn in with big discounts.
Clothing retailers offer discounts of up to even 60 percent during this mad rush, prompting consumers, especially middle and lower-middle groups to make purchases aplenty.
The NRF has forecast that holiday spending is expected to reach record levels and will grow between 3 percent and 4 percent, totalling $957.3 billion to $966.6 billion.
The federation recorded recent sales trends, saying the highest sold items was clothing and accessories at 49 percent, 31 percent toys, 25 percent gift cards, 23 percent books and other media and 23 percent personal care.
A record 200.4 million consumers shopped over the five-day holiday weekend from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, surpassing last year’s record of 196.7 million, the NRF said in a statement on November 28.
The figures surpassed the NRF’s initial expectations of 182 million shoppers by more than 18 million.
“The five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday represents some of the busiest shopping days of the year and reflects the continued resilience of consumers and strength of the economy,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.
“Shoppers exceeded our expectations with a robust turnout. Retailers large and small were prepared to deliver safe, convenient and affordable shopping experiences with the products and services consumers needed, and at great prices,” Shay also said.
Following such a big jump in sales, it is expected that work orders for garment export to the US markets from Bangladesh may see a big jump from coming February and onwards.
Currently, the US is the single largest export destination for Bangladesh and the country is the third largest apparel exporter to the US after China and Vietnam.
Bangladesh’s garment export to the US had dropped 23.33 percent year-on-year to $5.77 billion in the January-September period.
This was owing to a slowdown in demand in the world’s largest economy, the piling up of old stocks and high inflation stemming from the severe fallouts of the pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war.
Exporters had fetched $8.28 billion in the identical nine-month period of 2022, according to data from the Office of Textiles and Apparel of the US.
Last year, Bangladeshi suppliers shipped garment items worth $10.02 billion to the country, the highest in a single year.
In the January-September period this year, apparel imports of the US from the world also fell by 22.81 percent year-on-year to $60.82 billion.
The shipment of apparel to the US may pick up from February onwards because of the high sales from November, said Abdullah Al-Mahmud (Mahin), managing director of Mahin Group.
Anwar Ul Alam Chowdhury (Parvez), chairman of Evince Group, echoed him.
Exports to the US are still going slow as buyers are still going slow when making purchases but the shipments may pick up from February onwards, he said.
However, as in previous years, buyers slow down imports before general elections, one of which is scheduled to be held on January 7 next year, and these are major incidents for supplier country like Bangladesh.
This is good news that the sales in the season has increased, said Faruque Hassan, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
So, the export from the country will also pick up from early next year, he added.
Syed Ershad Ahmed, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh, also expects shipments of garment from the country to grow from February onwards.
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