M&S plans to buy more high-end clothing in Bangladesh

A few years ago, Marks & Spencer (M&S) could not find a single factory in Bangladesh capable of producing costumes in large quantities, although the country is already one of the largest exporters of clothing in the world.

But things have changed as local suppliers have diversified their products and made high-end items alongside basic clothing. The change made Bangladesh the largest costume sourcing destination for the UK retail giant.

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Today, Bangladesh is the largest sourcing destination for M&S apparel items, and the company purchases over $ 1.2 billion of clothing items from the country annually.

And M&S Country Manager Shwapna Bhowmick said she wanted to buy more clothing items in Bangladesh due to supplier commitments and product diversification.

“We are no longer interested in basic clothing,” she said, suggesting that suppliers produce more value-added items to receive higher prices.

She was speaking at a session on the garment industry at the two-day International Investment Summit hosted by the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority at the Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden in Dhaka.

Bhowmick also suggested Bangladesh branding and business facilitation.

Faruque Hassan, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), called for the signing of free trade agreements, preferential trade agreements and other regional trade agreements with trading partners to to retain the duty-free export facility after the country exits from a least developed country to a developing country in 2026.

Currently, $ 25 billion worth of clothing, out of a total of $ 34 billion, is shipped under the LDC category, he said. “So retaining the business advantage is important for Bangladesh after graduation. “

An additional investment of $ 5-7 billion is needed in the garment sector to meet the country’s export targets by 2030, he said.

He expects Bangladesh’s share of the global apparel market to soon pass 7 percent, down from 6.26 percent last year, as international retailers and brands saw increased order volumes.

Mohammad Ali Khokon, president of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association, said that after two years Bangladesh would no longer need to import yarn as local investors made new investments and increased their capacity in the textile industry. spinning.

He called for more political support for the growth of the primary textile sector, which includes the spinning, weaving, dyeing and printing industries.

“Many have been waiting for more than two years for gas connections to run factories. “

Mohammad Hatem, executive chairman of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said many factories were facing a shortage of workers and called for producing a skilled workforce through training centers. technical and professional.

Anwar ul Alam Chowdhury, former chairman of BGMEA, said that in the post-PMA era, the garment industry would not lose business as the government pressured major trading partners to strike deals to to retain the privilege of duty.

Atiqul Islam, mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation and former chairman of BGMEA, credited people, power, port and political stability for the astonishing growth of the garment industry.

He hoped that congestion in Dhaka would ease within two or three years as the government implemented a number of megaprojects, such as the metro and elevated highway projects.

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