The market for organic textiles in the UK is buoyant, despite a fall in total organic sales in 2012, according to new figures.

In its annual report, the Soil Association says organic sales in the UK fell 1.5% to GBP1.64bn (US$2.49bn) in the year, which it blames on the continuing economic downturn.

But non-food sales showed a “positive uplift”, with turnover of textile licensees to Soil Association Certification up 10%.

The number of textile facilities certified to Global Organic Textiles Standards (GOTS) around the world was up 10.4% to 2,995, the report found.

Sales of organic wool through the Wool Board rose 8.5% by volume to 215,000kg and 25% by value, boosted by a 15% increase in the price per kilo.

And the report highlights Textile Exchange figures which suggest that the global market for organic cotton was up at least 10% in 2011-12.

The Soil Association also pointed to its largest textile licensee, Continental Clothing, which sells items wholesale to the imprintables industry and saw turnover rise 35% in 2012.

Trade was boosted by range expansion, a doubling of warehouse capacity and promotions with organic vintage prints to mark the 50th birthdays of Carnaby Street and the Rolling Stones.

A smaller-scale success, it added, was Curlew Weavers, which doubled its sales over the year.