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Spain’s textile sector bouncing back

Spain’s textile sector is coming out of the recession.
The number of Spanish suppliers of fabrics, fibers and accessories such as buttons had plunged by about a third since 2008. Spanish textile firms were slow to innovate and adapt to the increasingly fast-changing demands of the fashion industry.

Many company bosses in the sector still have a mentality of industrialists, not of entrepreneurs. But last year, the number of textile firms stopped falling for the first time since 2008, stabilising at around 3,500 companies. The sector is benefitting from Spain's economic rebound - growth stood at 3.2 per cent in 2016, double the eurozone average -- and the disappearance of less competitive firms. The firms that survived were those that were export-oriented, able to diversify their order book and respond more quickly to customers' demands.

Spain's textile exports, which account for 60 per cent of sector-wide sales, rose by seven per cent last year. The focus on international sales adopted by major fashion retailers has also pushed smaller firms to modernise and shift their focus to activities with higher added value.

Companies have also diversified away from fabrics destined only for fashion and now also make technical fabrics for the automobile, agriculture or sports sectors.