Arab buyers look to Brazil
Importers from the region are attending industry expo Francal in São Paulo, with plans for growth.
Image © Jaggat | Dreamstime.com
A new market is opening up to Brazilian shoemakers – and it has come as a surprise to the country’s footwear manufacturers association.
Growth plans of a number of exporting companies at the recent Francal exhibition in São Paulo, Brazil now reportedly include increased targeting of countries in the Middle East.
Arab countries are becoming mainstays in the plans of Brazilian shoe manufacturers looking to expand internationally. A number of Arab importers attended Francal, and there were plenty of companies ready to sell to them.
As an example, the buyer from UAE-based Landmark Group placed orders at the Brazilian conglomerate Paquetá’s stand. Landmark runs franchises for the Paquetá-owned Dumond brand in the Middle East, and the company purchases some 35,000 to 40,000 pairs of Dumond shoe every six months. Landmark Group owns the Shoe Mart chain and runs around 2,000 franchised stores (representing manufacturers from different parts of the world) in the Gulf region, as well as in Egypt and India.
In addition to the Landmark Group, importers were invited to the event from Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and the UAE. These representatives were part of a group of over 200 overseas buying companies who had their accommodation provided by the organisers of the Francal show.
Hopes for future growth
Image © Shahroozporia
Many of the shoemakers showcasing their products at the Francal expo are said to have positive expectations for their exports, and a number of these rely on the Arab market for their growth projections. One exhibitor reportedly expects her company’s exports to rise from 20 per cent to 30 per cent of total output this year. She also said that the boost in the US dollar has made the brand’s prices more competitive. In the Arab world, her company currently sells to Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, and is developing contacts in Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Tunisia and the UAE. According to this executive, the company’s shoes match Arabic tastes, since they are quality products which feature stones, a variety of colours and combinations of different materials.
A representative from the export department of another exhibiting company at Francal expects to see a 15 per cent increase in exports during 2015. He claims that the economy is currently conducive to overseas sales, and that his firm plans to invest primarily in countries that trade in US dollars, including nations of the Middle East. In the Arab world, the company sells to the UAE and Lebanon, but is in talks to serve other countries in the region. He remarked that exports could rise considerably if the US dollar remains at the current level or even climbs further.
As an indicator of possible future opportunities, the Brazilian Footwear Manufacturers Association (Abicalçados) has released positive sales figures for the UAE. Almost 950,000 pairs of Brazilian shoes were shipped to the Arab country between January and May of this year, which is a 33 per cent boost over the same period in 2014.
According to Abicalçados chairman Heitor Klein, the interest shown by Arab markets in Brazilian shoes came as a surprise. Arab countries are not being specifically targeted in the association’s 2015-16 international promotion project being run with the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brazil), but Mr Klein believes this will change, as manufacturers are calling for actions targeting the Middle East.
Undoubtedly, footwear manufacturers in others lands will be looking at this growing market with interest.
This article was originally published on page 52 of the September 2015 issue of SATRA Bulletin.