From the 60 active tanneries 25 operate in the international arena and exports accounted for 63% of the total turnover last year. In the report German leather exports fell 20% while domestic sales fell by 3% and the total number of employees fell slightly to around 3,000. More job losses, particularly among casual and contract workers, are anticipated this year according Reinhard Schneider, director of the German Leather Federation.
Approximately 70% of German leather output (10 million m2) is for the upholstery sector with a further 20% for footwear and the remainder shared between leathergoods, saddlery and garment. German tanning output is the third largest in the European Union after Italy and Spain.
With most segments holding up it was the automotive
upholstery and home furniture sectors which saw the greatest decline.
No figures were released concerning the decline in automotive leather output but the number of cars produced in Germany fell by 3.1% last year with a further 0.6% fall
in German owned car companies manufacturing outside Germany.
The domestic furniture and office upholstery market had a 6% reduction in turnover in 2008 and further contraction of the furniture and automotive markets is expected for 2009.