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The Clothing Industry
South Africa’s formerly flourishing clothing manufacturing industry has been decimated by international competition since 1994. Although significant progress has been made in enhancing the competitiveness of the multi-billion rand industry, the sector continues to shed jobs. With discretionary income shrinking, clothing retail sales are under growing pressure. There are an estimated 800 clothing manufacturers operating in South Africa that generated revenue of R19bn in 2018, while retail sales of clothing, footwear and textiles totalled more than R175bn.
The drive to support Made in South Africa labels is steadily gaining ground. Wearing locally-made clothing at the state of the nation address, president Cyril Ramaphosa said that government, in partnership with business and labour, would be developing master plans for industries with high growth potential, including the clothing and textile sector, which has contracted significantly over the past two decades, shedding more than 200,000 jobs. Stakeholders say that the failure of many retailers to support local sourcing has resulted in factory closures and job losses. They continue to lobby for increased local procurement which allows retailers to respond to market trends more swiftly and lessens exposure to exchange rate fluctuations.
The local clothing industry has been decimated by an influx of low-cost Asian products and negatively affected by the proliferation of mid- and high-end international fashion brands. Apparel manufacturers recorded an annual production decline of 4.9% in 2018.
This report on the clothing industry includes manufacturers and retailers, with comprehensive information on the size and state of the industry and the factors that influence it, government initiatives and intervention, a performance review of the major players and information on corporate actions and leadership changes. There are profiles of 93 companies in the sector including manufacturers such as Trade Call Investments Apparel and Kingsgate Clothing, school uniform manufacturer Allwear Clothing, and retailers such as Edcon, The Foschini Group, Mr Price and Woolworths.