Global organic cotton sales up 63 percent in 2008

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global retail sales of organic cotton apparel and home textile products climbed 63 percent in 2008 to $3.2 billion, a report said on Wednesday.

The Organic Cotton Market Report said some of the leading organic cotton retailers in the United States are Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Anvil Knitwear Inc, Nike Inc, Pottery Barn and Greensource.

There is also Zara of Spain’s Inditex, C&A of Belgium, Coop Switzerland and Hess Natur of Germany.

“Despite the global retail outlook, most brands and retailers selling organic cotton products remain committed to their sustainability plans and upbeat about market growth with plans to expand their product lines 24 and 33 percent in 2009 and 2010, respectively, to result in an estimated $4 billion market in 2009 and a $5.3 billion market in 2010,” the report said.

The amount of organic cotton farmers grew worldwide in 2007/08 increased 152 percent, according to the 2008 Organic Cotton Farm and Fiber Report.

The amount hit 145,872 metric tons, which is equivalent to 668,581 (480-lb.) bales. It was grown on 161,000 hectares (400,000 acres) in 22 countries worldwide.

Organic production is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without using pesticides, fertilizers or genetically modified seeds.

Reporting by Rene Pastor; Editing by Lisa Shumaker