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Sri Lankan apex export facilitator EDB links with three new apparel markets

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2015-12-01 16:00:00 – Colombo

After a three-year long resolute quest since 2012 by Sri Lanka’s apex export facilitator EDB to link with nine top global retailers, a visiting high powered multinational buyer team has finally linked with EDB and Lankan apparel giants on Nov.27 at Mt Lavinia Hotel.

The State Minister of International Trade Sujeewa Senasinghe upon hearing the development over the phone and added that they believe that this breakthrough could help them to move towards their new apparel export target set by the industry. This is a good news for their surging apparel sector.

Apparels are Sri Lanka's topmost merchandise exports and in 2014 it earned US$ 4.9 billion –just short of $ 5 Bn. (increasing by 9.2% from 2013). Last week, Sri Lanka’s apparel industry set an ambitious new export target of $10 Bn by 2025.

The visiting international buyer team, flown in by EDB, consisted of reps from top fashion retailers of Brazil, Australia, India and Denmark. EDB’s years of efforts to get new markets such as the top international retail representatives, to visit Sri Lanka has worked, said Chairperson & CEO of EDB, Indira Malwatte, addressing the global representatives. This is the first time they are meeting such a group of top, new major buyers in Sri Lanka in one go. Their apparel sector now supplies to well-known labels including Calvin Klein, Gap, Marks & Spencer, and Victoria’s Secret.

The reps in the visiting international buyer team were from Brazil (Casas Pernambucanas, Grupo Guararapes, Cia Herring), Australia (Pilot Athletic, Cotton on Group, Bein Sports, and Auluaulu International), Denmark (Day Birger Mikkelsen), and India (Raymond Apparel Limited). They were instantly wowed by the high quality of Lankan apparel produce, and promptly embarked on EDB facilitated factory visits of Lankan manufacturers on the same day. The buyers also took part in Sri Lanka Design Festival event in Colombo on 26 November. EDB estimates that Brazil’s apparel import market to be worth $2.5 Bn, Australia $6 Bn, and Denmakr $5 Bn.

A top spokesman from leading Sri Lankan apparel maker Hirdaramani Group revealed that they are highly grateful to EDB for linking them to world’s largest textile retailer, Spain’s ‘Zara’ chain. After talks, Zara has entered Sri Lanka and now they started work with them for their requirements. Zara, despite being the world’s largest textile retailer, does not advertise. Zara is owned by clothing group Inditex, which in turn is owned by the Spanish self-made mogul, Amancio Ortega. Spanish mogul Ortega last month briefly surpassed Bill Gates to become the world’s richest man.

The Lankan born Australian Nirosha Fonseka (Director Marketing - Auluaulu International–Melbourne, Australia) said that they usually specialize in niche apparels from Sri Lanka-Swim, Beach, Active wear and Lingerie. Among their clients are such labels as Jane Lamerton, MYER, WaterSun. They are happy to say that we brought down a leading Australian fitness fashion label 2XU to source from Sri Lanka. They arrived today and are now in town, meeting with Lankan apparel suppliers.

Casas Pernambucanas is one of the pioneering retailers in Brazil market having started almost a century ago said Hamilton Chen (Production Manager-Casas Pernambucanas) and added they have heard of Sri Lanka on and off but it has been largely unknown to them. What he saw during these few hours in Sri Lankan apparel manufacturing factories really impressed and amazed him due to the level of high production quality-very frankly. In fact, they are ready once the price ranges of supplies match their requirements. Casas Pernambucanas is the 14th largest retailer in

Brazil with $1.6 Bn revenue. In 2013, it was listed as the number one Brazilian retailer.

The EDB’s work to facilitate the buyer delegation started way back in 2012. As a result, a year ago last October, the first ever Lankan apparel industry delegation to Spain’s Inditex took place, again facilitated by EDB. The Lankan delegation took part in a presentation by Echevarria Hernandez (General Director of Communication for Inditex SA) at Inditex offices, Spain.

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