German manufacturers of garment, leather technology and textile cleaning machinery are forecasting a 3% decline in sales in 2012, but are expecting a rise of 4% in 2013.

The Garment and Leather Technology Association (VDMA) reported a 23% drop in the number of orders during September, against the same period of last year. Between January and September, the figure was down 9%.

Sewing and garment machinery sales fell 33% between January and September, while machinery for the shoe and leather industry saw sales fall 29%. But sales of laundry and textile cleaning machinery grew 12%.

"2012 was a stable transitional year for the Garment and Leather Technology Association," said the trade association's chairman Tilo Ullmer, owner and managing shareholder of PMF and Fortuna Spezial Maschinen.

"For 2013 we are expecting an increase in turnover, particularly if global conditions improve. The unexpectedly clear outcome of the presidential election in the USA is already the first step in the right direction." 

VDMA managing director Elgar Straub added: "A cautious increase in the number of orders and also in turnover can be predicted for 2013. But the global economic conditions have to stabilise or improve in order for this to happen."

However structural changes taking place in China and the shift of production closer to end consumer markets means that investment is on the agenda.

A shift in production to Eastern Europe for example, as well as the need for increasing flexibility and productivity are benefiting German technology suppliers.