Textile Industry in Albania and the dynamics during and after COVID-19

Expocity Albania, on May 21, 2020, organized the webinar on “Textile Industry in Albania and the dynamics during and after COVID-19”. Being one of the important sectors for the Albanian economy, especially in terms of employment, the situation created by the pandemic, has influenced the progress of the sector. New and alternative solutions, change of dynamics, expectations for the future, the situation of the textile industry in international markets. All of this was discussed in the webinar by the following panel:

Mr. Stiven Emanuels, Administrator, SAMWEAR
Mrs. Brigitte Heuser, SIPPO’ s Consultant
Mrs. Desarta Rapushaj, AIDA – Marketing Expert

Mr. Steven Emanuels, who leads one of the most important and largest manufacturing companies in the country, gave a detailed overview of the situation of textile production during the global COVID-19 pandemic in Albania. The company he runs was reformatted in record time by taking all safety measures for its employees, by placing distances in the workplace and using masks. Also, they have managed to take important decisions about their company’s progress. In a very short time, the needs of the customers have been identified and the production of products has started according to their request. Mr. Steven noted that any global change needs entrepreneurs to adapt and take fast decisions. Currently SAMWEAR produces 50,000 masks per day. Some of the Albanian companies, during global pandemic situation, produced medical clothes and masks so one of the discussion points was the standard of these products and their production protocols. Mr. Steven explained for the audience the materials and protocols for the production of masks and medical clothing.

During his discussion, Mr. Steven addressed export problems during pandemic by identifying ways in which these problems could be alleviated with state intervention.

Mrs. Brigitte Heuser was also part of the discussion panel, textile expert and SIPPO consultant. SIPPO is the Swiss trade promotion program for international economic development. Mrs. Brigitte analyzed the situation of the textile industry in European markets. She began her speech with the prediction of an economics professor in Germany for the permanent closure of 200,000 clothing stores, underlining that this is undoubtedly a negative signal. Currently there is a declining trend of the consumers to buy especially luxury and fashion products, respectively 45% of the consumers in Italy and 44% in England.

According to the expert, the clothing sector in Germany will recognize the deepest crisis in September because of the burden of rent or the stock of the last season in their warehouses. Sales in the textile industry have fallen by 12.1 billion euros so far. By the end of the year the turnover is expected to drop from 24 to 36 billion euros compared to a year ago.
In the value chain, retailers try to pass the burden on to manufacturers and consequently this will have a negative impact on clothing manufacturers. This will penalize mainly large producers such as in Bangladesh who will be at risk of creating large stocks. Mrs. Brigitte highlighted that it is very important to have market diversification.

However, despite the negative effects of global pandemics in the textile sector, the tendency of European companies to produce their products in Europe, far from Asia, is not to be underestimated. This phenomenon is called nearshoring and the good news is that the Balkan countries will be considered for the clothing production by European companies.
At the time when the future is not so secure, the key to success should be the flexibility of companies and adaptation to the changes that will occur in the value chain where the demand will be lower but with a high variety.

During her speech Ms. Brigitte also addressed the reshoring phenomenon, the return of production to the country of origin with state support, thus referring to countries such as Germany and France which had incentivized this phenomenon in their countries.

The webinar was also attended by Mrs. Desarta Rapushaj, Expert at the AIDA agency. She once again highlighted the importance of the textile sector in the Albanian economy, mainly in exports. One of the reasons why this industry has had a crisis as a result of global pandemics is that 71% of the sector’s exports go to Italy. Mrs. Desarta also made a presentation on the focus of the AIDA agency, which is to increase the competitiveness of the private sector. During the pandemic, the agency has partnered with the businesses to find new partners, more innovative ways of working, and promote the sector’s products and services. Recently, many virtual platforms have been developed to make B2B meetings visible for the textile sector. The purpose of these meetings is to expand partnerships, new markets and to share ideas and alternative work solutions in pandemic times.

Mrs. Desarta also explained the financial support packages for the sector. Financial Packages 1 and 2 focus on all businesses that have been affected by the pandemic activity, including companies operating in the textile industry. The first two packages are designed to help employees’ wages while the sovereign guarantee provides working capital loans and investment opportunities for all businesses affected by the pandemic.

You are invited to follow the full webinar on link