Piece Goods, Notions, and Other Dry Goods

SIC 5131

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

This industry comprises wholesale distributors of piece goods, yarn goods (made from natural or manmade fibers), notions (including sewing accessories and hair accessories), and other dry goods. Products of the industry include belt and buckle assembly kits, buttons, shoulder pads, textiles, thread, apparel trimmings, and zippers. The industry also includes converters who buy fabric goods (except knit goods) in the grey market, contract to have them finished, and sell the finished product at wholesale. Converters of knit goods, however, are included in Industry Group 225. Establishments engaged primarily in the wholesale distribution of items considered home furnishings are classified under SIC 5023: Homefurnishings.

Valued at $11 billion in 2009, the piece goods and notions industry included 6,500 establishments employing 46,000 people. By 2010, the states with the largest number of establishments in the industry were New York and California, which also were the top two states in numbers of textile mills. Other states with high concentration were Texas, Florida, New Jersey, and North Carolina.

Broadwoven fabric finishing mill shipments were valued at $2.9 billion in 2008, and textile and fabric finishing (except broadwoven fabric) mills were valued at $2.0 billion, indicative of the global economic downturn that began in mid-2007.

Sellers of fabric goods and craft items to retailers experienced an upswing during the early to mid-1990s. As Americans began spending more time at home, sales for sewing and craft shops increased. Fabric wholesalers supplying the apparel industry, however, saw their customers dwindle in size and numbers. Industry employment decreased in the apparel industry during the first half of the 1990s. Thread sellers were unaffected because apparel cut in the United States and shipped abroad for assembly was ordinarily sewn with American-produced threads. Additionally, non-apparel uses for industry goods were steadily increasing into the 2000s.

For 2003, the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) reported that approximately 50 textile mills went out of business in the United States. As a result, the textile industry's employment rate declined by 10 percent, or 428,000 workers. As the mills were shut down, the average work week also fell one hour and 36 minutes over 2002. In addition to the shortened work week, there were also pay cuts. There were 50,000 thousand jobs lost by the end of 2002 in the United States. Fabric, yarn, and thread also declined about 8 percent down to $39 billion. Imports from China, however, had an estimated 40 percent price gain. China's imports stood at 85 percent, with China controlling about 19 percent of the U.S. textile market.

The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) was formed in April 2004, thus replacing the American Textile Manufacturers Institute and the American Yarn Spinners Association (AYSA). The new lobbying group served as the new voice for the overall U.S. textile industry.

According to the NCTO, the U.S. textile industry lost more than half its workforce during the first decade of the twenty-first century. One yarn spinner, Anderson Warlick, president of Gastonia, North Carolina's Parkdale Mills Inc., told Textile World in June 2010, "I can testify with absolute certainty that our industry was forced to lay off at least half of those employees due to illegal shipments of yarn and fabric entering into the United States." To eliminate "fraud and illegal trade" the Textile Enforcement and Security Act (TESA) of 2010 was introduced, perhaps the first legislation of its kind targeting textile-specific customs enforcement. The U.S. was able to maintain its third place position with exported textiles reaching $13 billion in 2009.

One of the largest organizations involved in this industry is Marubeni America Corporation with $3.6 billion in 2009 revenue. A wholly owned subsidiary of Marubeni Corporation (a Japanese general trading company), it was incorporated in 1951. Its headquarters was located in New York City, and the company operated seven other locations throughout the United States.

Marubeni America's Textile Division offers an assortment of products in the international marketplace. According to a published company statement, although fabrics represented the "backbone of the division's success," the company was expanding its interest in natural and synthetic fibers, yarns, and raw American cotton. Marubeni America operates other product divisions in addition to its Textile Division. These include chemicals, machinery, metals and mineral resources, forest products, and general merchandise.

Other industry leaders include ITOCHU International Inc. (ITOCHU Cotton Inc.) and China Industrial Manufacturing Group, located in New York City and New Jersey respectively. With operations in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S., ITOCHU International Inc. posted revenues of $4.5 billion in 2008 with a reported 4,671 employees.

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