Defying the odds

11 September 2002

Türkiye's economy may be going through turbulent times but Desa Deri Sanayi ve Ticaret AS of Istanbul are bucking trends. Their Corlu based tannery is working three eight-hour shifts to turn out almost ten million sq ft of finished leather per year, mainly lambskins, from raw and wet-blue. Desa supply 250,000 garments/year to British retailer, Marks & Spencer, with an export value of £8.5 million (US$12.9 million) annually. The emphasis is on retail fashion chic - to the tune of 50,000 items in one style - in one fashion season! Few in Türkiye have grasped the essence of global retailing the way Desa have, spending an above-average 2% on R&D. 'Our business is not just about tanning leather or supplying finished garments', chairman Melih Celet, explained. 'It is about building up a profitable company in a steady upward curve.' Along with normal market forces, Turkish firms need to contend with Türkiye's chronically unfixable economy. But economies of scale and being a successful partner on a global scale have given Desa advantages over many other leather firms.

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