Top brands fail to pass quality test

09:34, April 21, 2011      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 


The exterior of a Zara store in Xidan shopping area in downtown Beijing. In the latest quality control tests on garments by the Beijing Consumer Association, Zara and other well-known brands were declared substandard. (Photo / China Daily)

Many Chinese consumers favor foreign brands because of their international appeal and perceived higher quality. Now shoppers, and consumers worldwide, might have to think twice.

In the latest quality control tests on garments sold in Beijing, several well-known brands were declared substandard. Six were international brands, 14 were Chinese.

Clothes sold by Zara, from Spain, failed in three categories, the most of any brand tested. It is also the only brand that has failed three successive quality tests.

The Beijing Consumer Association (BCA), which released the results on April 10, sampled 57 pairs of leisure trousers from 57 domestic and international brands. Thirty-seven passed tests in all 13 of the association's categories. Tests covered such characteristics as fiber content, color fastness and pH value. (A high pH, meaning the fabric contains alkaline, can irritate the skin.)

The fabric in a pair of Zara trousers made in Morocco did not match the contents declared on the label that said the fabric was 75 percent cotton, 20 percent wool and 5 percent terylene, a type of polyester. The fabric tested at 68 percent cotton, 10 percent wool and 12 percent other contents.

Zara is owned by Inditex, a group of 100-plus companies that calls itself one of the world's largest clothing retailers. It reported annual profits that were up nearly one-third last fiscal year from the year before, according to a report last month in The Independent newspaper in the UK.

"What upset us the most is not that Zara's products have been continuously failing tests, it is their silence about the quality issue found in China," said Dong Qing, vice-president of BCA. "I don't think they carry such an arrogant attitude elsewhere. Their attitude really doesn't match their international image."

Zara's down coats failed BCA's quality tests in 2009 and 2010; their actual down content was lower (by 9.1 and 18.5 percent, respectively) than what the labels said.

After BCA published those findings, Zara did not contact the association and BCA is unaware of any action the company took in response. Zara did not reply when China Daily asked what action had been taken, although it did respond to questions about the latest test results.

"If those products were sold worldwide, then they are cheating global consumers," Dong said. "We hope consumer associations or groups are aware of that."

Zara opened 75 stores in China last year and plans to open 120 more this year, The Independent reported. That will put Zara in 42 Chinese cities, up from 30 in 2010.

Dong blamed the fast expansion as the primary reason for Zara's quality problems. "Adding a little bit less cotton and down in their garments could help the company save a lot, and consumers wouldn't notice at all."

In its article about Zara's finances, The Independent said Inditex allayed worries about cost pressures, saying it expected to keep half the margin gains it made in 2010.

Emergency meeting

It has been a week since BCA's latest quality report was sent to Inditex's Chinese headquarters in Shanghai, and BCA said the company has not responded. BCA would like to see Zara apologize to Chinese consumers and recall problem products.

Another well-known foreign brand that was rated substandard is US-based Hush Puppies. The company sent a written statement to BCA immediately after the report cited labeling that did not match fabric content, requesting a re-test. Hush Puppies said there is no content other than cotton in the casual trousers sampled.

"The company held an emergency meeting after the test result was published and took the issue very seriously," Hush Puppies said in its response to BCA.

The association has reported the sample results to Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce, which plans to fine Zara about 780,000 yuan ($119,421) for poor quality control. The final amount is still under discussion, BCA said.

"We will continue to monitor Zara's product quality," Dong said. "If they continue to sell substandard garments, we might have to ask them to leave Beijing. Foreign brands need to respect Chinese regulations and consumers."

Source: China Daily
 
 
     
 
BRICS Leaders Meeting 2011
 
Japan in aftershocks
 
     
 
 
 
  Weekly review  
 
April 14   BRICS nations can be anchor of global economy, politics
 
April 13   China launches assault on child kidnapping
April 12   China's coastal seas unaffected by Japan's radioactive water
April 11   US has serious human rights abuses: China
April 16   The week in pictures
April 11   PM Kan offers thanks for 'Kizuna' on People's Daily
April 13   Stable BRICS nations prop up world development
April 13   US should stop acting like 'preacher' of human rights
April 15   GDP rises 9.7% in Q1, inflation surges too
April 14   Auditor lady's sudden death sparks overwork debate
 
     
 
 

(Editor:张茜)

  • Do you have anything to say?

双语词典
dictionary

  
Special Coverage
  • BRICS Leaders' Meeting 2011
  • Focus On China
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Afghan police tighten security checks
  • Japan's tourism in tough situation amid nuclear crisis
  • Pianist Li Yundi gives lecture in Beijing
  • Nepalese CA members detained for misusing passports
  • Int'l Horticultural Exposition to open in Xi'an
  • France's Sarkozy promises to intensify air strikes in Libya
Most Popular
Hot Forum Dicussion