While journeys of Turkish brands accelerate abroad

While journeys of Turkish brands accelerate abroad

Is there any other country in the world other than Turkey where people’s hopes for 2017 were shattered?

Most of us spent the last days of 2016 shivering in the cold and spent nights in darkness because of long power cuts. Until the last minute, New Year’s preparations and shopping were done blindly. 

The biggest shopping avenue in Istanbul’s Asian side, the Bağdat Avenue, which is compared to Paris’ Champs Elysees, was in full darkness both because of power cuts and because of the early onset of evening darkness that came with the summer time zone that was never changed this winter. Maybe the darkness of this otherwise always-bright street is the first sign of what is yet to come.  

The New Year came with its uncertainties, starting with the identity of the attacker of the Reina nightclub, which I understand was also a favorite spot of Sweden’s former Prime Minister Carl Bildt as I read on his Twitter. What will 2017 bring to the economy? 

According to main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) head, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the shrinkage in the economy will further grow in 2017 and wider segments will feel the problem. According to Kılıçdaroğlu, there is no economic crisis in the world, but it is only Turkey that is going through a crisis because it is unable to get out of the middle income trap. 

Newspaper reports say the time between August and September 2016, 246,000 people have lost their jobs. Unemployment is going to be an important problem in the New Year. 

Tourism is the sector where layoffs are the most common because of the crisis. Together with tourism, the retail sector is also one of the life-bloods of the economy. How does it see its future? 

Head of the United Brands Association of Turkey (BMD) Sinan Öncel said the retail sector was also affected by the slowdown. One of the main reasons of this is undoubtedly the decrease in the number of tourists who kept the sector alive to a great extent. 

Another blow to the sector is the sharp hike in the foreign exchange rate’s effect on shopkeepers who are unable to pay their rents, especially those calculated in dollars. 

Öncel said because the economic growth became stagnant, brands would focus more on international growth. 

As a matter of fact, one of the important players in fashion retail, the brand Koton has opened its 182nd store in Hamburg recently. The CEO of Koton, Yılmaz Yılmaz, said they were planning to open 36 new stores abroad in 2017. He said they will have a leap in India and China in the next two years. 

Another important player in retail, the head of the executive committee of L.C Waikiki, Vahap Küçük said international sales will hold 30 percent share in their 2017 turnover.

It is not only the fashion sector that has turned its attention to international markets. The İzmir-based bed producer Yatsan’s CEO Gökalp Bahçeli, for instance, said they were targeting a 10 percent growth domestically and 25 percent growth internationally in 2017. He said they exported goods to 52 countries. They have opened 15 stores in China and will continue to grow there, he said. 

As Bahçeli has also said, as long as profits abroad are better than domestic profits, and as long as the economic uncertainty continues in Turkey, Turkish brands will continue their journeys abroad.