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Strategic Attitudes in the Global Textiles Market: the Case of a South European Cluster

General problems of the fibre and textile industries

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In recent years, the textile and clothing (T/C) industry in the EU has suffered difficult times, with declines in production and employment and an increase in the trade deficit. The case of Spain, the fifth biggest producer in the EU-15, is no exception. In spite of Spain having lower costs than most of its EU partners, the globalisation of the T/C industry and the liberalisation of the sector brought about by the GATT 1994 agreement have caused important restructuring in the sector, with the critical effects of downsizing and reallocation (delocalisation) of production. Within such a framework, innovation and R&D are seen as the key issues for competitiveness. We aim to analyse a particular cluster of T/C producers in the province of Girona, in the north-east of Spain. We look at the strategic similarity of the firms in the study and, in particular, whether they have used different innovation profiles. We argue that different strategic attitudes and innovation profiles entail different prospects for future survival. Qualitative and quantitative data were gathered via structured interviews with the top-level management team of each firm. The results show that the subsector in which any given firm compete influences its strategic and technological positioning.

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textiles, strategic types, innovation, SME

Published in issue no 1 (55) / 2006, pages 8–13.

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