The Obama administration has forced American Apparel to lay off 1,800 immigrant workers there. As reported in Terra:
The firings at the well-regarded Los Angeles based company provide a clear example of how the Obama administration is trying to move from workplace raids to forced termination in the fight against illegal immigration. But the firings are not without controversy, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the terminations were “devastating” and his office publicly called on the federal government to focus on employers that exploit and abuse their workers. American Apparel has historically been very good to their workers, providing all of their garment producers with health and life insurance and paying them well above the standard going rate for garment workers.
Opinions on this move have been mixed. While some say these jobs can now go to Americans and legal residents, others say this could further harm a region already devastated by unemployment. The Los Angeles Times, for example, wrote the following editorial:
There are those who believe that Los Angeles will benefit because those jobs will now go to American citizens. Certainly that is possible. Joblessness in California is at 12.2%, a 70-year high andfar past the national average of 9.7%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And between August 2008 and August of this year, Los Angeles lost more jobs than any other U.S. city. Citizens of every race and ethnicity, desperate for employment, are now frequenting day- labor sites in downtown L.A. and Hollywood, according to the Wall Street Journal; some have turned to farm work and labor in the fields. But even if American Apparel replaces its lost workers with U.S. citizens, it’s just a shell game; one problem is solved while another is created.
Gap Inc. is expanding internationally with new franchise agreements to open stores in Mexico, Egypt and Jordan, according to a report in San Francisco Business Times:
The new agreement brings to 21 the number of countries with approved Gap franchisees. The first franchisee was signed in January 2006, and over 100 franchised Gaps and Banana Republic stores are now open in 13 countries.
In Mexico, Gap (NYSE: GPS) will open stores within stores at a Mexican department store chain through a partnership with Distribuidora Liverpool. Gap products will become available in spring 2009.
Gap Inc. will also expand its Middle East presence with franchised Gap and Banana Republic stores in Egypt and Jordan. Fawaz Alhokair Group will open the first Gap stores in Egypt and Jordan by the end of the year, with Banana Republic stores following in 2009. Fawaz Alhokair also has franchised Gap and Banana Republic stores in Saudi Arabia.
Gap and Banana Republic franchise stores are now open in Bahrain, Greece, Indonesia, Korea, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Philippines, Turkey and United Arab Emirates. The company has also announced franchise agreements to open stores in Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania and Russia over the next five years.
Los Angeles-based Guess, Inc has reported third-quarter profits up 33 percent as sales from European and Asian markets have increased. In the quarter, the company earned $58.3 million, or 62 cents a share, up from $44 million, or 48 cents a share, in the third quarter a year ago. A 15.8 percent jump in same-store sales pushed revenues up to $469.1 million, up from $328.8 million. In the nine-month period, the company earned $131.3 million, or $1.40 a share, on $1.24 billion in revenue. Through the same period a year ago, the company earned $85.3 million, or 93 cents a share, on $856.4 million a year ago. Guess designs, markets and distributes apparel, accessories and related consumer products.
California clothing retailer, Gap, Inc., is reeling from a report in Britain’s Observer newspaper that found children as young as 10 making clothes for the Gap in a squalid factory in New Delhi. The children said they had been working for up to 15 hours a day and had never been given promised wages for embroidering sequins onto the flowing saris worn by Indian women. An AP report said the children were packed into a filthy room, sleeping on the same floor where they sewed all day. Gap responded by saying the factory was being run by a subcontractor who was hired in violation of Gap’s policies, and none of the products made there will be sold in its stores. “We appreciate that the media identified this subcontractor, and we acted swiftly in this situation,” Gap spokesman Bill Chandler told an AP reporter. “Under no circumstances is it acceptable for children to produce or work on garments.”
Fair Trade LA has announced the screening of the documentary “Made in LA”
Many of you may have heard about the documentary MADE IN L.A., about garment workers in L.A. After five years in the making, MADE IN L.A. is finally finished! Please come support the Los Angeles premiere! Itâ€™s a FREE community screening at the Los Angeles Film Festival!!! MADE IN L.A. follows the remarkable journey of three Latina immigrants working in L.A.â€™s garment factories and their struggle for self-empowerment as they wage a three-year battle to bring a major clothing retailer to the negotiating table. In intimate veritÃ© style, MADE IN L.A. offers a rare and poignant glimpse into this â€œotherâ€ California, where immigrants in many industries toil long hours for sub-minimum wages, fighting for an opportunity in a new country. A film by Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar. In Spanish and English with bilingual subtitles!
WHEN: Saturday, June 23, 12noon The screening will be followed by a Q & A with the filmmakers and the women in the film.
WHERE: Los Angeles Film Festival â€“Mann Festival Theater, 10887 Lindbrook Dr., Los Angeles 90024 (Westwood)
“Limited Brands Inc. is selling a majority stake in its Express clothing chain to Golden Gate Capital as it continues to put greater emphasis on its intimate apparel and beauty products businesses. The Columbus, Ohio-based retailer has agreed to sell a 67 percent stake in the 631-store Express chain to an affiliate of San Francisco-based Golden Gate Capital, a private equity firm. The deal is expected to close by July 6. The stake will be sold for $548 million, or about $425 million after taxes, Limited Brands said. Express, which sells casual apparel for men and women, brought in $1.7 billion in sales in 2006, making up nearly 16 percent of Limited Brands’ $10.67 billion in sales.”
“Cherokee Inc. has entered a multi-year international licensing agreement for its Cherokee brand with Comercial Mexicana, the company said Wednesday. The deal with the Mexican retailer covers a range of categories including men’s, women’s, children’s clothing, footwear, accessories and more, the company said in a release. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Van Nuys-based Cherokee Inc. is a marketer, licensor and manager of a variety of brands it owns, including Cherokee, Sideout, Carole Little and others, and is a consultant to the brands it represents.”
“Los Angeles-based True Religion Apparel Inc. is establishing its first foreign office in London to further its European growth, according to a report in Los Angeles Business. Kelly Furano, director of international sales, will be relocating from Los Angeles to London to work with distributors and retailers to build the True Religion brand in Europe, the company said… “As the True Religion brand continues to evolve into a global lifestyle collection, the time is right to place a greater focus on growing internationally, and this can only happen by placing our own team on the ground in Europe to support the wholesale growth and possible rollout of retail stores,” said Michael Buckley, True Religion president.”
“Strong European sales gave Guess Inc. a lift. The Los Angeles-based clothing maker and retailer reported a 77 percent hike in net income and a 25 percent boost in sales. Shares gained 16.3 percent during the week, closing Friday at $84.86, reaching a 52-week high of $84.99 during trading. Guess shares have more than doubled in the past year.”