Israel's textile and fashion industry has been one of the worst-hit industries by the global recession.
In a statement issued last week by Ramzi Gabbay, chairman of the Textile and Fashion Industries Association of the Manufacturers Association of Israel he noted that the industry was in its worst downturn in the history of the country.
In 2008The textiles and fashion industry laid off 1,600 employees, 9.5% of its workforce, and it now employs 16,200 people. Gabbay added that six plants were closed in 2008: the Polgat factory in Kiryat Gat, which employed 300 people; the Polgat Jeans plant, also in Kiryat Gat, which employed 70 people; the Delta Galil Industries Ltd. elastic band plant in the Druze town of Isfiya; Ekstein Knitting Ltd.; and two other small firms.
Layoffs were made by Gibor Sport Active Wear Ltd. which reduced its workforce by 450 employees; Tefron Ltd. which reduced workforce by 300 employees; Arad Towels Ltd. - 165 employees; Molitan Ltd., Delta Galil, Bagir Ltd., and and Gilon Sportswear Ltd. - 50 employees each; and Nilit Ltd. unit Hanit Fibers Ltd. - 23 employees.
Gabbay added that textiles and fashion sales fell by a nominal 12% in 2008, compared with 2007, to NIS 8.4 billion, and that domestic textiles sales fell 13% to NIS 4.7 billion.
The only good news was a 2.5% increase in dollar terms in exports to $1.04 billion. Israel exports textiles and fashion products to 114 countries.
RIS Retail Information Systems Ltd. which monitor local sales said last week that sales at fashion stores in February 2009 experienced the lowest monthly proceeds in more than three years, and 10% less than in February 2008. The analysis is based on receipts at checkout counters at most fashion chains in Israel.