2008 – International Fur News with Sandy Parker
The following extract is reproduced with permission from Sandy Parker Reports, Weekly International Fur News. Sandy Parker has been covering the fur industry for more than four decades. For most of that time he has published a weekly newsletter, detailing results of international pelt auctions, wholesale price trends, business developments and movements in the trade, as well as economic and political activities that may impact on it.
RETAIL FURRIERS, WHO DEPEND ON THE HOLIDAY SEASON for a substantial part of their annual sales and profits, have been finding little holiday cheer so far this season. The situation is worldwide in scope and virtually all business is being affected as the spreading global recession forces consumers to cut back on spending in general and on luxuries in particular. More than halfway through December – the most important month on the furriers’ calendar – finds both store traffic and sales far below where they should be.
The month also represents the year’s final opportunity to obtain full markups for their merchandise before the usual end-of-season clearance activities begin. But the price-slashing has already started in retailers’ hopes that sophisticated – but price-conscious – shoppers can be lured by real bargains.
RECENT REPORTS HAVE INDICATED THAT CHINESE MANUFACTURERS who have maintained strict credit policies may now be willing to ease up and even give goods on consignment to certain accounts. This could not be confirmed, but a lack of reorders from domestic retailers as well as from Russian and other foreign accounts is said to have resulted in slack activity at a time when the factories should be operating at top speed. A prolonged slack period there could cause some fur factories to suffer the same fate that has befallen about 10,000 textile and apparel plants this year. According to official government figures, some 20 million manufacturing jobs were eliminated.
No surprise, then, that a sharp decline in demand by the Chinese – the largest buyers at the international auctions – would produce a sharp price decline. On the first day of its two-day opening sale of the new auction season, Kopenhagen Furs sold only 11% of what was offered, at prices about 22% under September levels.