‘Made in America’ a Competitive Advantage
Three stories lead to one question.
- Crain’s New York Business reports on apparel retailers, including
Bloomingdale’s, Kohl’s, Macy’s and Saks, using private labels
to contain retail prices and bottom line results.
- A Bloomberg News article looks at how designers Joseph Abboud and
the Olsen twins, along with chains such as Brooks Brothers, are using "Made
in America" labels to drive sales.
- Research by Boston Consulting Group projects a growing number of American
manufacturers moving operations back to the U.S. from China as wages and
other factors such as fuel make it more expensive to produce goods there.
The question: Is there a strategic advantage to be gained by retailers that market
private label goods manufactured here?
Brooks Brothers, according to Bloomberg,
manufactures a "large percentage" of the items it sells in U.S. factories.
"There is a customer that appreciates that the product is made in the United
is willing to pay for the difference," Claudio Del Vecchio, CEO of Brooks
Brothers, told the news service.
Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing,
said Americans are more interested in where goods are produced today.
in America feeds into the values proposition," she told Bloomberg.
"They are voting with their money, not just for U.S. jobs, but for a way of
life. In 2007, they were on a spending jag — they weren’t thinking about things
and retailers, according to Boston Consulting Group, are increasingly thinking
about producing goods in the U.S.
"All over China, wages are climbing at 15
to 20 percent a year because of the supply-and-demand imbalance for skilled
labor," said Harold Sirkin, a senior partner at Boston Consulting Group, in
a press release. "We expect net labor costs for manufacturing in China and
the U.S. to converge by around 2015. As a result of the changing economics,
you’re going to see a lot more products ‘Made in the USA’ in the next five
- Private labels are back in fashion – Crain’s New York Business
- Olsen Twins Use Made-in-America Hook to Lure Wealthy Shoppers –
- Made in the USA, Again: Manufacturing Is Expected to Return to America as
China’s Rising Labor Costs Erase Most Savings from Offshoring – Boston
Discussion Questions: Is there a competitive advantage to be gained by retailers that market branded and private label goods manufactured here? Do Americans want to buy American?