By  on September 2, 2014

Spain may have inched out of its second recession in three years during the second half of last year, but retail sales during the crisis period of 2008 to 2014 plunged 30 percent, with more than 14,000 store closures.

In addition, 50 percent of last year’s sales were made up of reduced or outlet merchandise, while multibrand stores lost market share, dropping from 58 percent in 1995 to 19.9 percent, according to ACOTEX, a clothing retail lobby group headquartered in Madrid.

Halfway through 2014, Spain is on the cusp of economic growth, but the light at the end of the tunnel remains, to date, a flicker.

During the first five months of 2014, textile sales — including apparel — increased 1.6 percent, “a change in recent trends and a reflection of better macroeconomic figures in Spain and, after a seven-year decline, a step in the right direction,” said ACOTEX president Borja Oría.

Turnover for 2013 was 15.85 million euros, or $21.35 million, a dip of 3.8 percent from 2012. “But by the later part of the year, there was evidence of recuperation,” he added.

Annual domestic spending by the average Spanish family has continued to fall — by about 14.5 percent since 2008, according to a June study published by the National Statistics Institute — with 30 percent less being spent on clothing partly because the general public holds out for discount sales in January and July.

The study indicates that last year, an average family’s spending slumped 3.7 percent, to 27,098 euros, or $36,493.

On the bright side, and according to official figures released by the Spanish Textile Industry’s Confederation, textile exports in 2013 grew 5.2 percent, to 3.37 billion euros, or $4.54 billion, over the previous year, partly compensating for weakened internal demand. The European Union is Spain’s principal taker, accounting for 57 percent — an increase of 19 percent for the year.

Unemployment — at 25.9 percent in the first quarter — remains this country’s biggest economic hurdle, with 5.9 million jobless. The labor market is not expected to recover until next year.

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