Spain's apparel and textiles industry lost 11,500 jobs in 2007, slashing the sector's headcount by 5.6% to just under 200,000 as it continued to struggle against a flood of Asian imports.

Imports increased 10% from January to October while exports rose 9.2%, trade statistics firm Centro de Informacion Textil y de la Confeccion (CITYC) said in a statement obtained by just-style on Monday (7 January).

Textiles production fell 2.3% while apparel declined 2.8%.

Since 2000, Spain's apparel and textiles industry has lost 60,000 jobs to Asian competition, CITYC said, adding that the industry continues to restructure.

According to other sources, textiles output has plunged 32% in the past eight years while the industry continued to scramble agasint a rising fakes trade.

In related news, textiles and apparel sales are forecast to reach EUR4.3bn (US$6.3bn) during the sales season that began yesterday in Spain, down 5% from the year-ago period, leading trade lobby Asociacion Empresarial de Comercio Textil y Complementos (Acotex) said Monday.

The sector will suffer from rival retailers' fierce competition to woo increasingly frugal Spaniards, nervous about rising interest rates and a deepening mortgage crisis.

Spanish consumers will spend EUR100 on average on textiles products, down slightly from last year, but per-item prices are expected to fall significantly, Acotex said.

By Ivan Castano.