SUPPLY CHAIN

Panjiva: U.S. imports and exports fall in Q1

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Following a strong economic pick-up in fourth quarter 2013, values for both imports and exports fell during first quarter 2014, compared to the previous quarter. According to a new report from supply chain research firm Panjiva, imports dropped 5.42% and exports 3.84% from fourth quarter 2013, though activity in March fared better than in January and February.

Some of the report highlights include:

• Despite labor safety concerns, Panjiva’s data suggests Bangladesh is as an important source as ever; the value of U.S. imports is up 1%, compared to fourth quarter 2013 and the volume (number and weight) of shipments into the U.S. is also on the rise.

• Despite political tensions and economic sanctions imposed on Russia, imports from Russia actually increased 9% from fourth quarter 2013, while exports still dropped during the same time period by 5%; Vietnam also saw instability in the last few months due to tensions with China, but shipments remained slightly up in first quarter from the previous quarter at 3%.

• Saudi Arabia was a trading partner that stood out significantly in first quarter. While total trade actually declined this quarter, Saudi Arabia is actually the U.S.’s largest international buyer for dairy products and had a 142% increase in shipments since fourth quarter 2013.

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REAL ESTATE

American Apparel relocates Aix-en-Provence store in France

BY Dan Berthiaume

Los Angeles – American Apparel has relocated its Aix-en-Provence store in France. Set in a former private hotel, the new location features an open, single floor layout and flower garden.

The shop maintains much of the building’s early architecture including stone walls, a fireplace (transformed into a shoe display) and double front doors depicting the city’s emblem of two lion faces. With history dating back to the 16th century, it marks the company’s oldest interior in Europe.

The storefront opened on July 29, and features products for men, women and children. The new location is situated among retailers The Kooples, Sandro, American Vintage, Petit Bateau, Loft, Gap, Hermes, MAC, Zadig & Voltaire and Bang & Olufsen.

American Apparel has 11 other French locations in Paris, Toulouse and Lyon.

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FINANCE

Overstock.com offers private label card

BY Dan Berthiaume

Salt Lake City – Overstock.com is offering a private label credit card issued through Comenity Capital Bank. To pay using the Overstock.com store card, shoppers select that option when checking out.

They are then prompted to submit a brief application, after which approval is confirmed within seconds. The card number is stored in conjunction with the customer’s Overstock.com account, though the customer also receives a physical card.

Card members receive special financing options based on purchase price, and 10% off their entire order upon approval. Card members will also receive access to exclusive promotions and events, all without paying an annual fee.

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