The clothing sector in Greece for 2009


This report presents the basic financial and social data regarding the Greek clothing sector for 2009 in comparison to 2008 and previous years. In some cases, comparisons are made using absolute numbers (number of companies, employees, exports, imports, etc), while in other cases comparisons are related to specific indexes (production, revenue, new orders, production prices, import prices, etc). The distinction is necessary since for some data there is no recent information regarding absolute values.

2009 is characterised as a truly bad year for the Greek clothing manufacturing sector. It is considered as being even worse in comparison to 2005, a landmark year due to the quota elimination.

The financial crisis, which begun in the middle of 2008, has strongly affected the sector in Europe, which recorded losses in all measures.

In 2009, the financial crisis seemed to affect even more the exporting companies in comparison to the ones targeting the internal market. The reported revenues, as well as new orders placed to exporting companies, presented a further 5% decrease in relation to the ones operating in the internal market. The difference is due to the fact that the European markets were affected earlier from the crisis in comparison to Greece, which was affected in the second half of 2009.

The most important problems that the sector faced in Greece in 2009, were the reduction of consumptions and sales, and the lack of cash flow.

As expected, spending on clothing was strongly affected by the financial crisis, a fact that unavoidably resulted to the reduction of orders and sales. In addition, it led to the time extension of customer payments and to the increase of overdraft cheques.

This problematic situation was further enforced by a drastic reduction of loans from the banking sector, which combined with the increase of the lending cost drove a large number of companies to financial asphyxiation and to closure.

In 2009, clothing production reported a 20% decrease, revenues a 17% decrease, and new orders another 17% reduction. Moreover, exports presented a 19% decline and imports a 10%.

Company data

For the identification of the number of companies in the sector, information was used mainly from the Social Security Institute (IKA), due to the lack of recent data from the National Statistical Organisation. IKA records all the companies that have at least one employee.

According to this data, the total number of clothing companies that have at least one employee in 2009 in Greece is 2.543. The number has been reduced by 14,7% when compared to 2008 - the equivalent number was 2.980 companies.

The prefectures of Attica and Central Macedonia represent the two major concentration poles for the sector, since in these two areas about 2.100 companies are located (representing more than 83% of the total companies). The prefectures of Western Macedonia and Eastern Macedonia and Thrace follow with a large difference.

It must be mentioned that the absolute actual number of companies is quite larger if the companies that do not have any employees and the self-employed are added.


For a detailed presentation of employment in the sector the yearly Workforce Reports of the National Statistical Organisation are used. These reports present all employees, regardless of their employment status (i.e. including entrepreneurs, self-employed, part and full-time employees, etc.), and analyze the data using a number of parameters such as: gender, age, employment position and educational level at a prefecture level.

Based on these facts, in December 2009 the total number of employees in the sector was 36.640, of which 61,8% (22.644) are female. In comparison to 2008, a reduction of 14,7% is reported (42.965 employees in 2008).

Regarding the geographic distribution of the employees, the prefecture of Central Macedonia (mainly Thessaloniki) together with the Attica region have 27.969 employees, i.e. 77% of the total number of employees.

During the period 2007 2009 more than 15.000 positions were lost, i.e. 30% of the total positions.

Production index

For a 2nd consecutive year the production index for the clothing sector was decreased. Its mean value was at 64,4 units, in comparison to 82,2 in 2008 and 99,7 units in 2007. The highest value of the index for 2009 was reported in April (85,4) and the lowest in August (38,0).

Revenue index

A reduction of 18% is reported for the mean value of the Revenue Index in comparison to the previous year. In particular, the indexs value is 73,5 units, from 89,6 units in 2008 and 102,7 in 2007. The highest value of this index for 2009 was reported in September (85,8) and the lowest in August (56,5).

The Revenue Index (internal market) was reduced by 15,5%, and reached 83,9 units, in comparison to 99,2 units in 2008 and 104,7 units in 2007. The highest value for 2009 was reported in September (119,5) and the lowest in June (56,9).

The most significant reduction was by 20,8% of the Revenue Index (external market), which reached 64,4 units, in comparison to 81,4 units in 2008 and 100,8 in 2007. The highest value for 2009 was reported in January (75,2) and the lowest in August (50,6).

Retail price index

An increase of 3% was reported for the mean value (112,1) of the retail price index for the clothing retail sector. During 2009, the retail price were steadily higher than the values of 2008 by a percentage ranging between 2,8% and 3,5% (in February).

Revenues in retail increased by 3,9%, reaching 104,5 units. A smaller increase (+1,1%) appeared in the turnover index, reaching 97,6 units.

New orders index

A reduction of 17,8% was reported for the new orders index for 2009, reaching 73,7 units, in comparison to 89,6 units in 2008 and 101,3 in 2007. The highest value for 2009 was reported in September (86,3) and the lowest in August (57,6). A smaller reduction of 14,7% was reported for the new orders in the internal market reaching 84,4 units. The reduction for exports was 20,8%.


The negative course for exports continued in 2009. Exports presented a considerable reduction of 19,1%, while imports reported a 10,2% reduction. Trade Balance was reduced by 5,3%, at 1,25 billion , from 1,32 billion in 2008.

Exports were reduced by 19,1% in 2009, reaching 638,7 million , in comparison to 784 million in 2008 and 912,8 million in 2007. Considerable reduction of 20,5% was reported for the knitwear, while exports for weaved clothes were reduced by 14,8% reaching 168,5 million .

The most important markets for Greek products, based on the export value, are: Germany (161 million ), Cyprus (92 million ), Italy (43 million ), France (42,5 million ) Great Britain (38,5 million ).

86% of total exports originates from 10 product codes, as presented in the following diagram. The top two codes, with a large difference from the remaining ones, are 61.06 (blouses shirts, knitted, for women or girls) and 61.09 (T-shirts and tops, knitted), both covering 46% of the total export value.


Imports were reduced by 10,2%, following many years of continuous increase, mainly due to a reduction in consumption. Imports value reached 1,9 billion , from 2,1 billion in 2008 and 2 billion in 2007.

The main suppliers for Greece in 2009 are: Italy (431 million ), Spain (227 million ), China (215 million ), which fell from the 2nd place, France (137 million ) and Germany (125 million ).

From the sum of imports, 10 product codes represent 75% of the total import value.

Trade balance
The sectors trade deficit was reduced by 5,3% at 1,25 billion . This fact is due to the greater reduction in absolute numbers of imports in comparison to exports.

Larger clothing companies in 2009