Who Owns Whom

The Clothing Industry in South Africa

Carole Veitch | South Africa | 17 December 2021


R 8 400.00(ZAR) estimated $ 547.08 (USD)*

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The Clothing Industry in South Africa

South Africa’s clothing industry has been materially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although lockdown restrictions and supply chain disruptions dealt a massive blow to companies across the industry value chain, the closure of borders prompted companies to reduce their reliance on imported goods and increase local sourcing. In terms of a recently implemented industry masterplan, major retailers have committed to increasing locally-made clothing ranges in their stores from around 50% currently to 65% by 2030.


Economic pressures continue to weigh heavily on the clothing trade, and consumer spending remains constrained. The relatively robust performance of the value/discount fashion segment reflects the migration of cash-strapped customers to stores offering cheaper products. The 27 March 2020 lockdown precipitated a surge in online retail sales, as people cut back on in-store shopping. There were significantly fewer new store openings in 2020, with major retailers prioritising cash preservation over capital expenditure. Adding to weaker consumer demand, supply chain disruptions and other pandemic-related challenges, was an eight-day spate of civil unrest in July 2021.

Illegal Trade

The smuggling of illegal consignments of clothing into South Africa, much of which is counterfeit or knock-offs of other brands, presents an ongoing threat to the viability of South Africa’s clothing industry. Added to this is tax evasion, which takes the form of under-invoicing and roundtripping. Illicit practices have been facilitated by corrupt officials in customs administration.

Report Coverage

This report focuses on the clothing industry in South Africa, including manufacturing and retail. It includes comprehensive information on the state and size of the sector, notable players and their performance, developments and corporate actions, and factors influencing the sector including the effect of the pandemic on sales and the increase in online sales. There are profiles of 89 companies including major players such as Pepkor, Truworths and Woolworths, manufacturers such as Prestige Clothing and specialist companies such as Ubunye

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