Global economy and fashion Yes, I’ve been blogging about the effect of the worldwide economic downturn upon the fashion industry for sometime now, but with 2009 still months off it’s not easy to put our hands on some really concrete figures.

But in-line with Marks & Spencer’s 32.5% plunge here are some other facts and figures the fashion industry ought to be worried about;

Investor confidence shrinking

Investors abandoned the retail sector early Tuesday as Wall Street reeled during a volatile session, only to come running back just as the price of oil began its biggest retreat in nearly two decades.

Although retailers gave back some of what they had made up later in the day, the Standard & Poor’s Retail Index closed the roller-coaster session down 0.7 percent after sinking as low as 313.63, a 3.8 percent sell-off.

Japanese market weak
Perhaps the biggest surprise, given the recent push by luxury brands from Gucci to Ralph Lauren to enter the Japanese market.

Bally is cutting the retail prices of its fall-winter collection in Japan by 25 to 30 percent, underscoring the weakness of the luxury goods market here.

“We would like to up our competitiveness as a luxury brand by reviewing closely the pricing policy and the location of our stores,” Bally International chief executive officer Marco Franchini said in an interview. “Japan is still a big market and there is growing room for us. We would like to appeal again to Japanese clients as a luxury brand so that we can compete with brands such as Gucci.”

Bally’s move comes a little more than a month after Salvatore Ferragamo said it would cut the retail prices of some pre-fall and fall-winter items by an average of 10 percent to jump-start stagnant sales in Japan.

Sources: WWD & WWD

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