The 2005 target of Bical Calçados, a maker of children’s shoes from the city of Birigüi (in the interior of the state of São Paulo, Brazil), is to ship 30% of products exported to the countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
Bical sales to the Arab market started in 2003. The first customer was a distributor in Saudi Arabia. Soon after that, the company started selling to the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain, Lebanon and Egypt.
“Currently, the nine Arab countries import around 20% of our exports,” explained the company export manager, Silton Freire, who has just returned from a foreign fair.
Freire participated in GDS, the International Shoe Fair, which took place between March 11 and 14 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The manager explained that he returned to Brazil having made many contacts.
“As we already have exclusive representation contracts with distributors in all the Arab countries that import, the fair served as another opportunity to advertise our brand and make new contacts,” he explained.
The shoes made by Bical, which generates 1,200 direct jobs and also makes teen products, are shipped to 60 countries. So as to strengthen the publicity of the brand on the foreign market, last year the company organized television campaigns in some countries in Latin America, and placed advertisements in magazines.
In 2004, the company more than doubled exports. Of the around 310,000 pairs of shoes produced every month, 25% were shipped abroad.
Birigüi is currently the most important Brazilian children’s shoe hub. Around 80% of the children’s shoes that are exported from the country leave the city, and of those just 10% leave unbranded.
There are 166 factories officially installed in the city, of which 40 export. In 2003, 13,7% (32,000) of the 230,000 pairs of shoes made per day were exported and in 2004, approximately 16% (41,600) of the 260,000 shoes produced/day were sold on the foreign market.
Brazilian shoe producers ship abroad synthetic and leather shoes, and they compete in an average price range, above those of the Asian products.
Individual design and flexibility in the volumes of orders are two factors that favor the Brazilian product.
Translated by Mark Ament
ANBA – Brazil-Arab News Agency