Exploring economics: the secret life of t-shirts
Exploring economics: the secret life of t-shirts

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Exploring economics: the secret life of t-shirts

2.4 Stage 4: packing, trading and retail

The final stage in the life of our t-shirt is for it to be packed and commercialised to the countries where it will be sold. The role of the retailer is to provide an outlet for the sale of the t-shirt. This may involve elements such as providing an attractive shopping environment, marketing or customer service. You will again use trade data as a guide to see which countries feature strongly at this final stage of the supply chain.

Maths skill 7: pie charts

A pie chart is a circular chart divided into ‘slices’. Each slice shows the proportion of that category in the overall ‘pie’. This allows the size of each group relative to other groups to be seen clearly and also the proportion of each group as part of the whole pie.

Described image
Figure 5 Pie chart showing garment imports by country as a percentage of world garment imports (source: ITC Trademap, 2018).

Activity 15

Which country has the largest share of world garment imports?

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Answer

The pie chart in Figure 5 clearly shows that the USA is the largest importer of garments.

Which other countries are also key importers of garments?

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Answer

Germany, Japan, France, UK and Spain are also important importers of garments.

The pie chart in Figure 5 shows that countries such as the USA and UK are large importers of cotton t-shirts. This corresponds to the role of the retail sector in these countries. The UK’s role in the fashion industry is very much weighted towards the retail end of the supply chain. Of the 550, 000 people employed in fashion in the UK, 75% work in retail. In addition to this another 20% are employed in the retail sale of footwear and leather goods and wholesale clothing and footwear. Only 6% of workers in the UK fashion industry are employed in the manufacturing of clothing (Fashion United, 2019). Similarly in the USA an estimated 1.8m are employed in the fashion industry with 79% working for clothing retailers (Fashion United, 2019).

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