Sri Lanka’s apparel exports grew 2.8 per cent in November 2019. This is due to an increase in production capacity and a re-routing of supply chains amid the US-China trade war. The trade war to some extent helped with orders diverted to Sri Lanka. Apparel exports to the European Union grew 10.99 per cent in November 2019 compared to the same period in 2018. Sri Lanka’s total apparel exports from January to November 2019 grew 5.8 per cent. Apparel exports to the EU from January to November 2019 rose 5.7 per cent.
Exports to the EU have increased with continued leverage of GSP Plus preferential tariff benefits and market certainty with Brexit coming to a conclusion. However, Sri Lanka’s exports to the US in November fell 4.8 per cent though exports to the US for the period January to November 2019 recorded a growth of 3.7 per cent. The fall in exports to the US in November was due to continuous slowdown in sales of Victoria’s Secret, which is a large customer of Sri Lanka. Victoria’s Secret posted a seven per cent fall in same-store sales in the US and Canada in the third quarter. Victoria’s Secret has been bleeding sales and divesting its brand portfolio due to changing consumer tastes.