Fur Goods

SIC 2371

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

This category covers establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing fur coats and other clothing, accessories, and trimmings made of fur. Those establishments that are primarily engaged in manufacturing sheep-lined clothing are classified in SIC 2386: Leather and Sheep-Lined Clothing, and those that are engaged in dyeing and dressing of furs are classified in SIC 3999: Manufacturing Industries, Not Elsewhere Classified.

Furs were once considered a luxury that only a few could afford. However, the huge influx of women entering the workforce in the 1970s changed that perception. Many women were able to use their increased disposable income to buy for themselves an item that historically had been purchased by men as gifts to their wives. After 1970, the U.S. fur market grew steadily, and, by the 1980s, furs had surged in popularity.

A surplus of pelts on the international market, a slow U.S. economy, warm winters, and price battles among retailers contributed to lower profits in the late 1980s. Overproduction saw retail prices fall 40 percent below their peak. Animal rights groups, who received much publicity in the 1980s with their advertising and public relations campaign against the fur industry, attempted to reduce the demand for fur by pointing to the declining numbers and claiming their campaign had been successful. Other analysts saw other factors, including a series of mild winters, the slowdown of the economy, and a glut of pelts on the market, as much more relevant. In the early 1990s lower prices helped to increase the unit sales of furs, but dollar sales remained constant. Some experts contended that in order for fur manufacturers to succeed, they needed to develop cross-promotional campaigns with other clothing manufacturers. In addition to the fur salons found in larger metropolitan areas, manufacturers needed to work closely with larger department stores such as Nordstrom's to raise awareness about fur goods among consumers.

By 1991, U.S. fur sales had declined 44 percent from a high of $1.8 billion in 1987. However, the late 1990s saw renewed in interest in fur goods. Thanks to a strong U.S. economy, the fur industry thrived, with interest in furs increasing worldwide. Fur goods caught the eye of several top clothing designers, many of whom started to incorporate fur into their runway designs. By 2002, the industry reported near record sales, and the following year, the industry matched its 1987 peak of $1.8 billion, according to the Fur Information Council of America (FICA). Indeed, by 2005, some 74 percent of high-end specialty retailers were carrying fur products. For the first time in fashion memory, nearly all designers who presented their fashions on the runways of New York, Paris, and Milan that year included fur in their fall collections. Mink continued to dominate the market, accounting for nearly 61 percent of total sales.

Some industry analysts attributed the increase in fur sales to a generally healthy economy and record snowfalls in the Northeast. The fur industry also saw a rise in worldwide fur prices.

Internationally, China emerged as a force to be reckoned with as both a consumer and a producer of fur goods. Hong Kong remained strong in fur exports, and consumers in China started purchasing fur goods, focusing specifically on the darker pelts. Meanwhile, Russia struggled to maintain a presence in the international market.

The fur industry continued its steady climb in the mid-2000s. Retail fur sales in the United States inched up to $1.82 billion in 2005. That organization also reported that there were approximately 100 U.S. manufacturers, most of which continued to be family-operated companies with fewer than 100 employees. Wisconsin and Utah were the two largest producing states.

Mink remained the most popular type of pelt among U.S. consumers. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported that the 274 mink farms in the United States produced almost 2.8 million pelts in 2007. Other animals favored for their fur were rabbits, coyotes, beavers, fox, and lynx.

In the United States, the domestic dog also made that list, albeit inadvertently. In February 2007, the Humane Society of the United States reported that some products purporting to be faux fur actually contained real fur from domestic and wild raccoon dogs (dogs with raccoon-type markings). The use of dog and cat fur for clothing is illegal in the United States and carries a sizable financial penalty. More significant for the industry, however, was public perspective. Many U.S. consumers were horrified at the notion of wearing the pelt similar to that of the family dog. The source of the falsely labeled clothing was China, where raccoon dogs ran wild. U.S. designers who outsourced production to China, where animal laws were weak and fur was inexpensive, were caught in the spotlight. The scandal was widespread, affecting such brands as Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, and DKNY and retailers ranging from Nordstrom to Macy's to JCPenney.

In 2007, industry watchdogs worried that a consumer backlash against all fur products might depress sales. Some designers were planning to reassign production to domestic manufacturers; others vowed to ban fur altogether. "Any use of it," said Avery Baker, an executive at Tommy Hilfiger, in People Weekly in 2007, "is not worth the risk of uncertainty."

In the mid- to late 2000s, related trade organizations worked to improve consumers' confidence in fur. For example, in 2007, the International Fur Trade Federation (IFTF) initiated the Origin Assured (OA) program. The OA label on a fur garment assured buyers that the product was made in a country that had national and local regulations governing fur production. In addition, in June 2009, the FICA reported that an annual Gallup poll showed the percentage of Americans who thought buying and wearing fur was morally acceptable rose from 54 percent in 2008 to 61 percent in 2009. Despite these statistics, efforts of designers to incorporate fur, and positive publicity, sales in the fur industry were down in the late 2000s, mostly due to the slow economy.

In 2009, Dun and Bradstreet reported that 210 establishments were involved in fur goods production and together generated $158.2 million in sales. Of this total, New York accounted for $115.8 million, or 73 percent. Companies continued to be small, with only 2 percent employing more than 25 workers.

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News and information about Fur Goods

US Patent Issued to Chemische Fabrik Kreussler & Co. on Aug. 12 for "Use of Diether Compounds for Chemically Cleaning Textile, Leather, or Fur Goods" (German Inventors)
US Fed News Service, Including US State News; August 12, 2014; 510 words
...chemically cleaning textile, leather, or fur goods" was invented by Cord Meyer (Schlangenbad...chemically cleaning textile, leather, or fur goods, wherein the goods to be cleaned...cleaning textiles, leather, and fur goods, and a liquid cleaning agent for...
WIPO ASSIGNS PATENT TO CHEMISCHE FABRIK KREUSSLER & CO. FOR "USE OF DIETHER COMPOUNDS FOR CHEMICALLY CLEANING TEXTILE, LEATHER, OR FUR GOODS" (GERMAN INVENTORS)
US Fed News Service, Including US State News; January 6, 2011; 454 words
...CHEMICALLY CLEANING TEXTILE, LEATHER, OR FUR GOODS." Applicants: CHEMISCHE FABRIK...chemically cleaning textile, leather, or fur goods, wherein the goods to be cleaned...cleaning textiles, leather, and fur goods, and a liquid cleaning agent for...
Books in Brief
The Buffalo News (Buffalo, NY); October 16, 2016; 700+ words
...scrubs and decoctions made with herbs and leaves all labeled 'organic' and 'hand-made' " so they can purchase No-Fur goods including "Snickers bars which all Yares love." Even her Yare lingo is fun: they order "on-the-line" and refer...
Uspto Issues Trademark: Dogloverart
US Fed News Service, Including US State News; February 11, 2016; 444 words
...represents background; and the black appearing on the painter's pallet is a finger hole showing the dog's black fur."Goods and Services: Greeting cards; Greeting cards featuring dogs; Greetings cards and postcards; Paintings; Paintings...
Hot Fur Market
The Seattle Times (Seattle, WA); December 21, 2014; 700+ words
...similar protests throughout Japan in October. Among them: Earlier this year, Tokyo Disneyland banned the sale of all fur goods, including bags and hats made with fox and rabbit fur; Japanese fashion giant Uniqlo and some other retailers began...
Uspto Issues Trademark: Helen Moore
US Fed News Service, Including US State News; June 24, 2015; 385 words
...collars; cloaks and capes; shrugs; boleros and giletsWholesale, online retail and retail store services featuring faux fur goods and articles, leather and imitations of leather goods and articles, clothing, footwear, headgear, hot water bottles...
Assessing the Suitability of a Green Solvent for GPC and TREF Analyses of Polyethylene
LC GC; May 1, 2014; 700+ words
...described as a valuable replacement for perchlorethylene or trichloroethylene for dry cleaning of textile, leather, or fur goods. In addition to dissolving a large spectrum of compounds, acetals produced by reactions between alcohols and aldehydes...
Symbol of Convergence, Unity. Safat Square Stands Test of Time
Kuwait News Agency (KUNA); January 7, 2016; 557 words
...produce with the local sea-faring inhabitants of the city. The desert dwellers would offload their handmade leather and fur goods, lamb and camel meats, milks and ghee in return for tea, wheat, rice, sugar, herbs and spices and precious stones...

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