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Cashmere & wool knitwear retail sales up

Jan '07
According to statistics released by the Chinese State Statistical Bureau, apparel retail sales growth, by value, in Chinese department stores was higher during September, October and November compared with the same months in 2005.

Reports from the market suggest that retail sales during November lifted to their highest level in almost two years, spurred on by the Chinese government's push to increase household consumption. This provides a positive environment for wool apparel sales, as from October to May is generally the peak Autumn/Winter clothing sales period.

Since Chinese department stores hold the largest market share of all clothing sales, sales in these stores are a reasonable indicator of overall demand at retail. Nonetheless, challenges remain particularly in the youth market.

Retail sales of key wool-type products were strong during September, particularly men's suits which rose outstandingly, year-on-year, in volume terms. This encouraging trend continued in October. Since men's suits are mainly wool or wool-blend, the positive upward trend in this product category is particularly encouraging for wool demand.

Similarly, cashmere and wool knitwear sales reported gains in both September and October. A word of caution however, reports from the market suggest that much of the branded wool knitwear products are primarily wool blends, with generally little wool content.

Wool-type women's wear continued to report growth, although some softening was evident compared to the same period the year earlier.

Australian Wool Innovation

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