Apparel exporters can now breathe easy as 14 global fashion brands have assured them of taking delivery of products – worth over $1 billion – they ordered earlier.
But the buyers did not mention any specific time when they will take the goods as the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the whole supply chain.
Bangladeshi apparel makers have termed the move as positive for the industry.
"We are hopeful that our partners for a long time won't abandon us at these troubled times" said Rubana Huq, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
According to the BGMEA and individual apparel makers, the brands and retailers that have agreed to take deliveries of their previous orders include H&M, INDITEX, PVH Corp, TARGET, KIABI, KappAhl, Benetton, Decathlon, M&S, C&A, Puma, Kontoor, Primark and Tesco.
These brands are from the European Union, North America and the United Kingdom.
Of them, Swedish fashion brand H&M, which sources the highest quantity of garments among all buyers from Bangladesh, has assured exporters of taking delivery of goods it has already ordered.
The brand also said they will pay as per their earlier payment terms and conditions, and will not ask for any discount.
BGMEA sources said KappAhl, Benetton and Decathlon have all sent letters expressing solidarity with and support for their suppliers in Bangladesh.
"KappAhl has said they will take everything they booked and Decathlon has just said they're by the side of Bangladesh," said Rubana.
She said M&S is also positive but it is seeking some changes in the payment mode.
"Primark has not done any messaging so far. I am sure they will respond and they are a great partner of Bangladesh," said the BGMEA president.
American fashion brand PVH Corp has also deferred and C&A will be speaking to exporters next Tuesday as a follow-up call, she said.
Sterling Group Chairman Siddiqur Rahman said many brands are communicating with him to take their products, but the payment methods are challenging to us.
"Some of them want to take 90 to 120 days to make payments," said Rahman.
Asif Ashraf, managing director of Urmi Group, said the British brand Marks & Spencer's country head has confirmed to them that they will take all goods produced for them or are in the process of manufacturing.
"Confirmation from the brand's headquarters is expected by the end of this week about the payment mechanism of the goods already being held," he said.
Another British brand Tesco has assured Evince Group of taking delivery of the garments they ordered.
"Tesco will immediately receive some 70 percent of the goods they ordered," said Ashraf Hossain Mirdha, executive director of Evince.
He mentioned that they have strategic partnership with a US brand and as per the agreement, no parties involved can cancel any order in any situation.
Green factory Plummy Fashions also got assurance from its two buyers, according to Fazlul Hoque, its managing director.
"INDITEX and KappAhl have announced that they will take delivery of their products, it's a positive development," he said.
Miran Ali, managing director of Bitopi Group, said Italy-based brand Benetton has confirmed that they will receive all products ordered from Bangladesh.
Annually, the Benetton sources over $400 million worth of apparels from Bangladesh.
DBL Group managing director MA Jabbar feels very optimistic as some brands and buyers have come back to take the goods they ordered.
He said when brands face challenges, suppliers extend their hands and when suppliers are in trouble, brands should come forward.
DBL Group is doing business with brands like H&M, Puma, Decathlon, KappAhl, KIABI and C&A, which have given assurance to take their products.
Apparel makers hoped that the Irish fashion brand Primark will also come back to Bangladesh as it is their second-largest sourcing hub after China. The brand annually imports about $900 million worth of apparels from Bangladesh.
"When we are in total uncertainty in the disrupted world economy from the pandemic, then some of our partners have extended their cooperation. We are hoping to see them keep their promises," said Mohiuddin Rubel, a director of BGMEA and Denim Expert Ltd.
Bangladesh is heavily dependent on its garment exports, which accounted for 84 percent of the country's total exports worth $40 billion last year. Over four million people are employed in this sector.