Japanese Trading Firms Report Decreases in Textile & Apparel Sales

The textile and apparel business of Japanese trading firms during the fiscal year ending in March 2020 remarkably differed from their strong business performance in the previous fiscal year, with sales decreasing for all firms except for Toyobo STC Co., Ltd.
The trading firms also suffered in terms of profits as a whole. In addition to slumping retail sales of apparel, the hike of consumption taxes last fall made matters even worse. In some cases, the spreading coronavirus caused delays in deliveries.
Itochu Corporation, the largest among these trading firms, reported declines in net sales and profits, as its business deteriorated due to poor sales in apparel-related businesses caused by the warm winter and coronavirus. Business in textile materials were also sluggish.
Nippon Steel Trading Corporation reported that the sales environment of its Textiles business remained harsh, with a change in the scope of consolidation due to the sales of shares of subsidiaries, the hike of consumption taxes, record warm weather temperatures and coronavirus. Meanwhile, profits increased owing primarily to the improvement of losses as a result of strengthening small-lot quick-delivery production operations.
Yagi & Co., Ltd. maintained about the same performance in overall business as well as in its textile and apparel businesses, with net sales declining slightly by 0.4%. Its business in textile materials and fabrics continued to suffer. Cotton yarns considerably suffered as operations decreased in several fabric production districts. In synthetic fiber yarns, sales of textured yarns and yarn reserves were favorable, but high value-added yarns suffered from production delays. Sales of finished products remained strong centering on workwear-related products, which pushed up overall sales.
Chori Co., Ltd. posted a 4.7% decrease in net sales, but gross trading profits increased by 1.2% and operating profits by 16.1%, thanks to profit improvement efforts made in its product OEM business. As domestic consumption showed no recovery, the Japanese market remained in a generally stagnant condition. Meanwhile, the sector of overseas materials was bullish, and the domestic apparel sector improved its profitability.
Tamurakoma & Co., Ltd. reported that its apparel material business made strenuous efforts and posted a sales decrease of only 0.3%, but apparel sales decreased by 6.6%. However, the sales of materials for beddings and interior goods decreased by 7.6%, and sales of finished bedding and interior products declined by 5.6%. Sales of materials for household goods also decreased by 3%, along with sales of finished household goods by 9%.
Sankyo Seiko Co., Ltd. posted a sharp decrease in net sales, and business fell into the red, as the company promoted a withdrawal from unprofitable stores in Hong Kong and Japan.
Toray International, Inc. reported that the slowdown of the global economy and the spread of coronavirus resulted in a double-digit decrease in operating profits. Sales of apparel materials and apparel decreased by 6.6% to 297,580 million yen. Sales of fibers, textiles and apparel decreased, while those of industrial materials and general merchandise increased by 9.6% to 57.1 billion yen. In industrial materials, automotive applications were dull, but trade in cotton was bullish. Sales of apparel materials decreased by 7.2% to 66 billion yen. Fibers for apparel applications suffered from stagnant Japanese market conditions. Sales of apparel dropped 10.7% to 174.4 billion yen, as the dull sales situation of customers resulted in a decrease in incoming orders.
Teijin Frontier Co., Ltd. reported that its industrial textile business was vigorous, while apparel textile business suffered setbacks, as global business was impacted by U.S.-China trade friction and other factors. In apparel textile business, the global economic slowdown affected Japanese production of sportswear fabrics. Business in winter garments and men’s suits suffered from the hike of Japanese consumption taxes from October 2019 and unseasonable weather. In industrial textiles, business was favorable for infrastructure-related materials with new construction and extensions of expressways.
Asahi Kasei Advance Corporation reported poor business in the segments of Apparel Materials & Products, Plastics Materials & Products and Chemicals, and their sales and profits decreased compared to the previous fiscal year. Sales increased for sportswear and industrial materials, but were stagnant for innerwear, outerwear and linings. Its subsidiaries in Thailand and Shanghai posted sales of 5.8 billion yen and operating profits of 200 million yen. Both sales and profits decreased in China and Thailand.
Kuraray Trading Co., Ltd. reported that net sales decreased as the business segment of Resin and Chemical Products suffered setbacks, while the Apparel, Textile and Yarn segment secured profits with operating profits reaching the same level as the previous fiscal year. Apparel posted a sales increase, and profits remained about the same as the previous fiscal year. Industrial textiles marked a decrease in sales but an increase in profits. While the sales of yarns were about the same, Mintval water-soluble filaments moved vigorously for application in towels and denims, achieving a 50% increase in sales. In industrial textiles, product sales of household materials were bullish. Meanwhile, sales of Clarino artificial leather were sluggish as application in shoes encountered difficulties.
Toyobo STC Co., Ltd. reported that its Fibers and Textiles business segment posted a sales decrease. The Uniform Business Department enjoyed active corporate bespoke orders, and the Textile Department reported that the sales volume of thobe fabrics turned upward with a recovery of market conditions. The Sports Apparel Department was affected by the transfer of some of its product business to related subsidiaries. The Inner Wear Textile Department posted a sales decrease as sales to private label apparel specialty stores suffered setbacks.
Unitika Trading Co., Ltd. reported that its Textile and Apparel business segment succeeded in expanding sales of Terramac bio-based materials, but sportswear and women’s wear suffered setbacks. Exports of denims were also at a low level. Favorable uniform business also began to worsen. Apparel production adjustments centering on workwear applications had an impact on business. Sales of agricultural materials and films were also stagnant.
(See Statistics section for fiscal business figures.)

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