Quake concerns hit ready-to-wear trade

Quake concerns hit ready-to-wear trade

Gamze Şener - ISTANBUL
Quake concerns hit ready-to-wear trade

The concerns over a much-anticipated earthquake in Istanbul have started to affect the metropolis’ three prominent commercial districts in the ready-to-wear sector: Laleli, Osmanbey and Merter.

Orders by customers from abroad in these three provinces seem to be shifting to the Far East due to the risk of the possible earthquake in Istanbul, as these orders have decreased by 35 percent following the quake fears.

As orders from abroad to these districts slowly move toward the Far East due to the risk of the possible earthquake in Istanbul, these orders have decreased by 35 percent.

Gıyasettin Eyyüpkoca, president of the Laleli Industrialists’ and Businesspeople’s Association (LASIAD), pointed to the impact of the war and changing weather conditions due to climate change on orders in recent months and expressed the negative effects that could be experienced in competition.

Eyyüpkoca said that orders started to drop again after the earthquake disaster.

“Of course, it is important to raise awareness about the Istanbul earthquake, but this should be done without hurting the economy,” he said.

“There is a fear among customers that ‘I cannot order from you, you are expecting an earthquake, I might not get the orders we have placed.’ They tend to send their orders to the Far East. This is not a sustainable situation.”

Gürbüz Oruç, president of the Merter Industrialists and Businessmen Association (MESİAD), said the earthquake had not affected orders coming into the region but that it had had a negative impact on textile production.

“Incoming customers know that the earthquake zone is far from Istanbul. The problem is that the earthquake has affected our prices. Our customers are mainly from Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Turkic states and the Balkans. A small ratio is from Europe and Russia as well.”

“A customer who ordered goods worth $500,000 in Merter at the beginning of the season is now going to China. Normally buying 12,000 to 13,000 items, [a customer] now buys 3,000 items. There is a 30 percent drop in demand. It could drop by up to 50 percent in the following period, and the season could end very early,” Oruç added.

Eyyüpkoca said Türkiye’s biggest advantage was its geographical proximity and production speed.

“Things would have been very good in Laleli during these periods, but because of the [earthquake] concerns, the decline reached 35 percent,” he said.

“It could increase even more in the following period. The decline in organized retail has been around 35 percent since last month. Tourists from the Middle East used to come here, but now they are not coming either.”

Kemal Kartal, president of the Osmanbey Textile Businessmen’s Association (OTİAD), noted that the earthquake concerns have affected the region.

“As OTİAD, we are preparing a project with the Şişli Municipality,” he said.

“We will inspect the buildings in Osmanbey, and the ones with a risk of collapsing will be closed. The owners will also have to demolish and build with urban transformation.”