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Imports account for 90 per cent of Saudi readymade garments market

Garments and footwear market in kingdom estimated at $8 billion

Investors in Saudi Arabia’s readymade garments industry warned that local manufacturers are threatened with having their factories shut down as imports from foreign producers continue to dump the market.

Industry sources estimated that the Saudi readymade industry is valued at about $4 billion, 90 per cent of which is imports from foreign markets, according to a report by the London-based Al-Sharq al-Awsat.

In the mean time, concerned committees at the Saudi chambers of commerce and industry are exploring the reasons that make consumers shy away from locally made garments.

According to reports obtained by Al-Sharq al-Awsat, roughly ten per cent of the total value of Saudi consumer spending goes to garments and footwear and the figure continues to rise as population and income grow.

Latest statistics reveal that the value of the garments and footwear market in the Arab kingdom is estimated at $8bn.

The kingdom’s recent decision to allow foreign investors to venture into the local retail market could usher in major changes in the market and encourage local manufactures to offer more competitive products in terms of quality and cost.

The garment industry in Saudi Arabia is still taking first steps and is expected to come under fierce competition from global brands that will enter the market soon.

Women’s garments account for 54 per cent of the market and babywear accounts for 15 per cent, while men garments make up only six per cent of the market.

($1 = AED3.67, at the time of publishing)