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Yarn Market
Alfred A. Dockery, Technical Editor

Summertime Blues

Alfred Dockery, Technical Editor

S pinners appear to be seeing demand slack off a bit this summer. One multisystem spinner admitted his capacity is not completely sold up, but his company's plants are still running five and six days a week.

"I've got yarn to sell," he said. "Business is not any weaker than it has been. We've just haven't been able to put it together."

Multiple sources agree the man-made yarn segment of the business is not as strong as cotton or cotton blends. Weaving is considered to be weaker than knitting right now, although there is considerable variability among weavers, depending on the market served. Upholstery is hot and cold. Home furnishings appear to have slowed a bit.

Hosiery Heats Up
Spinners expect the hosiery business to pick up this summer. China reached its hosiery quota in mid-May and cannot import more until late October, due to imposed safeguards for hosiery. This could be an opportunity for domestic spinners to gain some volume, particularly for specialty yarns designed to give superior wicking performance.

"I'm not expecting our business to weaken over the summer months as it has a tendency to do," said a spinner. "[T]here may be enough [Chinese socks] still in warehouses to take retailers all the way to the first back-to-school round. It may be July or August when we see increased hosiery business."

Fiber And Yarn Prices Stable
Spinners expect the hosiery business to pick up this summer. China reached its hosiery quota in mid-May and cannot import more until late October, due to imposed safeguards for hosiery. This could be an opportunity for domestic spinners to gain some volume, particularly for specialty yarns designed to give superior wicking performance.

"I'm not expecting our business to weaken over the summer months as it has a tendency to do," said a spinner. "[T]here may be enough [Chinese socks] still in warehouses to take retailers all the way to the first back-to-school round. It may be July or August when we see increased hosiery business."

Burlington HQ Imploded
Recently, 200 pounds of explosives reduced the former Burlington Industries Inc. headquarters in Greensboro, N.C., to rubble in about 10 seconds. The 430,000-square-foot building opened in 1971 and won several design awards. More than 1,000 people once worked there. Spinners took note of its demolition with some sadness.

"[T]he building that used to be the headquarters of what was once the largest textile company in the world was torn down to build a shopping center and some condos," one spinner said. "To some degree, we all followed on the coattails of Burlington because they had money, size and public awareness of their brands. Whether you were one of their customers or suppliers, I don't think you could have seen [the broadcast of the implosion] without thinking that a piece of textile history imploded with it."

"In the old days, when you got out of school, you went to work for Burlington, J.P. Stevens or Milliken," said a former Burlington manager. "Now, only Milliken is still in place, but it's very different. Looking back on my experiences [at Burlington], what I got out of it was an appreciation of the people in the mills and what they did. I got a great learning experience about the machinery and the processes."

July/August 2005



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