The Chairman of the ready-made Clothes and Textiles Committee in Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) Muhammad Al-Shehri has estimated the volume of pilgrims’ spending during the current hajj season to purchase clothes and fabrics at over 1 billion Saudi riyals.
This was injected in the clothes market in Saudi Arabia, the volume of whose investments are estimated at SR10 billion.
Al-Shehri said the pilgrims will spend about SR1 billion during the Tashreeq days in Makkah, Jeddah and Madina.
He announced a drop in the percentage of counterfeit textiles and clothes that violate the specifications and standards in the Saudi market by 70 percent during the current hajj season due to the rectification campaigns that the market witnessed before the Haj period.
These campaigns are continuing till now. He said this period has helped in the exit of a big number of expatriate workers, who were promoting old clothes and those violating the standards and specifications at the lowest prices. They used to attract many customers.
As to the products that attract pilgrims, al-Shehri said ihrams come at the top, as their sales reach 150 million riyals annually. Of these, the kingdom imports nearly 1.9 million ihrams annually. These form 93 percent of the total ihrams in the Saudi market. The kingdom manufactures about 7 percent only.
Al-Shehri said there were no complaints by pilgrims this hajj season on the bad quality of ihrams that were sold to the hajj groups during the current season. The pilgrims used to complain about the same ihrams during the past years due to skin inflammations for those who wore them. They got rid of them after creating awareness among the importers about the specifications of ihrams. Most important among these is that they should contain 80 percent cotton besides Shariah requirements.
Al-Shehri called on the Ministry of Commerce to intensify monitoring campaigns on clothes’ safety and prices. He mentioned the efforts of the Ministry of Commerce and the Customs Department to prevent entry of many commodities of bad quality and low standards and specifications.
Asked about the effects of clothes brought by pilgrims with the intention of selling them during the hajj season, Al-Shehri confirmed those sales do not affect the market greatly. They provide a variety of products.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette.