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Slight sales growth of German home textiles both at home and abroad
Mood: Stable and positive

The German Home Textiles Industry noted with satisfaction the economic trend in 2011. The basic conditions were right. The general economic situation showed a continuing upward trend. The gross domestic product of 3,7 per cent in 2010 also increased in 2011 – presumably by 3.0 per cent. The international markets turned out to be increasingly dynamic and stimulated the domestic export business. Domestic consumption, inter alia due to favourable financing conditions and the improved situation of the labour market is going well again.

The propensity to consume was still even more intensified by the current international debt crisis and euro crisis. The acute insecurity of the euro and missing profitable investments in the capital markets make consumers look for alternative types of investments. Building companies and renovation services are booming at present.

The German home textiles industry benefits from this development. Therefore, particularly in the second half of the year there were more and more positive signs in the statistics published by the Association. By the end of November a sales plus of about 1.2 per cent could be registered. The sales trend abroad of 1.2 per cent respectively 1.5 per cent was similar. The export quota of 25 per cent remained stable in 2011.

The number of production plants of the home textile industry was only slightly reduced in 2011. 147 plants are estimated, i.e. -2 percent. It is estimated that the number of employees was reduced by 1.3 per cent to 14.700.

Furnishing Fabrics for the Domain of Interior Decoration
In 2011 the production of furnishing fabrics grew by clearly 8.4 per cent. The sales quantity grew by 5.1 per cent in total. From the domestic market (4.4 per cent) as well as from the markets abroad (6.4 per cent) quantitatively positive demand signals were sent. By the end of November sales results of the section furnishing fabrics on the whole remained stable compared to the previous year (0.0 per cent). In the domestic market a sales plus could be reached (0.8 per cent); export sales were slightly down on last year (-1.5 per cent). A reduction of the average price level of a little less than 5 per cent was noted, the reasons for which are mainly due to the increasing competition pressure of furnishing fabrics from countries with lower production costs.

Decoration Fabrics
By the end of November, sales of the section of decoration fabrics were just under last year’s level (-0.4 per cent). Plain and coloured woven decoration fabrics respectively printed fabrics showed a marginal minus respectively plus of 0.5 per cent each.

Demand in the domestic market increased by 0.8 per cent. The export business showed a slight downward trend (-2,4 per cent). In 2011 the export share was a little less than 39 per cent. Decoration fabrics of high quality assured their position in the market. The increase of the average price level continued (3.5 per cent).

A uniform and consistent demand trend could not be recognized in 2011. The economic situations of the companies differed a lot from each other.
In the first half year, in general the demand remained stable compared to the previous year. Then, however, the negative signs increased. By the end of November the sales result of the previous year was missed by 4.3 per cent. The domestic business developed more weakly (-5.2 per cent) than the export trade (-1.9 per cent). In 2011 the export quota rose to 27.3 per cent.

Bedding Articles (Coarse Animal Hair and Fibre Fillings)
2011 was a very positive year for the product group of bedding articles (bed quilts and cushions filled with natural animal hair and fibres). By the end of November a sales growth of 6.4 per cent was reached. The domestic business (6.6 per cent) as well as the export trade (5.7 %) developed positively with a stable export quota of 19.4 per cent.

The sales plus of quilts and cushions was generated by both, fillings of natural hair and fillings of synthetic fibres.

On the whole, higher average prices were realized. Thus at least a part of the higher raw material costs could be shouldered by the enterprises.

Textile Floor Coverings
(A report on the business development of the carpet industry will be given at the trade fair DOMOTEX 2012 in Hannover.)

The economic prognosis 2011/2012 of the ifo Institute is captioned with the statement “Debt Crisis Curbs German Economy”. The forecasts are complicated by several uncertainty factors. In general a world-wide economic slowdown is probable. The gross domestic product is expected to increase by only disappointing 0.4 per cent in 2012.

In spite of dark clouds in economic skies, with sound optimism the German home textiles industry looks at the year 2012 . The enterprises still benefit from the positive domestic economic trend and the continuing shopping activities of the consumers. The currently intensified building and renovation activities work partly only with temporal delay and will keep the home textile economy still going for a while.

German home textiles are not only of high quality but also on the upswing as to their design and their emotional expression. They are characterized by innovations, high functionality and added value, thereby filling different market gaps.

In 2012 the German home textile industry will assume a solid position in the international competition.

A unique overview of the multicolored world of home textiles is offered by its world largest exhibition platform, Heimtextil 2012 in Frankfurt from 10 to 13 January 2012.

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