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UK textile manufacturing enjoys boom in 2017

Average production in the UK textile manufacturing industry was up 25% this year, despite looming economic uncertainty.

Half (50%) of the 100 fashion and textile manufacturers surveyed by Make it British saw turnover increase compared to last year. 

Almost a third (30%) said they exported more this year than in 2016 as the exchange rate worked in many businesses’ favours.

A third (33%) said they do not currently export, which Make it British said was a “massive opportunity” for growth.

Morale was strong as respondents scored a weighted average of 3.2 on a scale of one to five when asked how optimistic they felt about their industry’s future.

The workforce, however, remained a key concern as more than two thirds of firms (69%) reported that the average age of their workforce is over 40, with the average employer having only taken on one person under the age of 30 in the last year.

More than half (58%) said that they are receiving more enquiries than they were a year ago, as an increasing number of companies look to source locally and restore production back in the UK.

Kate Hills, founder and CEO of Make it British, said: “This survey reveals that 2017 has been another great year for the sector. There is increased interest from overseas and more companies are looking to source locally.

“As a result, more factories are opening or working longer hours and taking on apprentices to keep up with demand”.

In Drapers earlier this year, Hills called upon businesses interested in increasing UK manufacturing to consider investing in their own factories.

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