Richter Consulting

Report of the labour market update study conducted by the Apparel Human Resources Council.


Ashrof Omar and Tuli Cooray

Most analyses of the impact of the phasing out of global textile and apparel quotas conclude that China and India will dominate world trade in textiles and clothing with post-ATC market share for China alone estimated at 50% or more. A recent WTO study “The Global Textile and Clothing Industry post the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing” replicates these predictions adding that the outcome of the phasing out of quotas will also depend on the prevailing tariff rates and the preference margins of countries receiving such preferences. The study also adds that countries which are most likely to lose market shares are those located far from the major markets and needing costly structural adjustments.


Zuhui Huang, Xiaobo Zhang and Yunwei Zhu

Wenzhou used to be one of the poorest regions in eastern China. With limited arable land, poor road access to major cities, and little support from the upper level governments, this region seemed to lack all the conditions necessary for economic growth. However, over the past several decades Wenzhou has developed the most dynamic private sector in China, and has accordingly achieved one of the fastest growth rates. In particular, the footwear industry in Wenzhou has grown from a negligible market share to the largest in China. Here, we report a survey of 140 Wenzhou-based footwear enterprises of various scales, and use this information to examine the driving forces behind the dramatic rural industrial growth seen in this region. Our results show that clustering deepens the division of labor in the production process and makes it possible for small entrepreneurial firms to enter the industry by focusing on a narrowly defined stage of production. Therefore, Wenzhou represents an example of how clustering plays a significant role in helping fledgling rural industries overcome the growth constraints of capital and technology in the incipient stage of industrialization.


Kristof De Wulf, Gaby Odekerken-Schröder and Patrick Van Kenhove

This study is a critical reassessment and extension of De Wulf, Odekerken-Schröder, and Iacobucci’s (2001) framework investigating retail investments in consumer relationships. Their initial model relates four types of relationship marketing efforts to perceived relationship investment, in turn influencing relationship quality and ultimately behavioral loyalty. Based upon signaling theory, we extend this model by introducing product and service efforts as additional antecedents. Moreover, in contrast to the use of self-reported measures in the initial model, we apply customer database information in order to measure the construct of behavioral loyalty. Based upon 187 consumers reporting on their relationship with a Belgian apparel retailer, the SEM results provide guidelines for retailers how to increase the quality of their relationships with consumers by strengthening consumers’ perceptions of relationship investment.

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