Germany has now taken over from Britain as the French spinning industry's best customer according to recently released figures from the organisers of the Paris based Expofil Yarn Show.

According to show president Didier Tardy, the number of UK buyers attending the December 2000 event was l3 per cent down on 1999 and accounted for the overall two per cent decline to a final total of 6,856.

"We attribute the fall in the number of British attendances to the continued strength of the pound and the pressure that that imposes on the UK industry rather than to any lack of interest in exhibitors' offer," Tardy commented.

"And the cut back in business from Britain was more than compensated for by the dynamic approach of both the German and Spanish contingents - particularly since the December Expofil coincided with a major Spanish public holiday - and by the growing number of visitors from outside the EU which the show now attracts.

"At the most recent event these included not only teams from Eastern Europe but more 'long haul' travellers such as the batch of 43 Brazilian buyers and 27 who flew in from China," he added. "Meanwhile, Expofil continues to be the most important event of its type for the French fashion industry, attracting visitors from every sector of the business."

This year's attendance included representatives from virtually all the great French couture houses such as Dior, St Laurent and Givenchy.  From the weaving and knitted fabric side, there were also such famous names as Avelana, Deveaux, Perrin and Bel Maille.

In line with the growing influence exerted by retail, visitors from this sector not only included delegations from the leading French stores such as Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, but the American JC Penney departmental group as well.

Didier Tardy felt the strong US presence at Expofil boded particularly well for the future of the New York Yarn Show. Its takeover by the French Association for the Promotion of Textile Yarns in conjunction with Comexpo-Paris and the French Knitting Association was officially confirmed at the final Expofil 2000 press conference.

This conference represented the swan song of Expofil's own association with the Espace Branly exhibition complex, since the June 5-7, 200l show will move to the Paris Nord exhibition centre at Villepinte.

By Sonia Roberts.