In Contrast to China, Which Sells Commodities, Brazil Offers Fashion

Couromoda Adding value to shoes and working with medium and high end products is one of the solutions for Brazilian exports to continue rising despite the appreciation of the Brazilian real against the dollar. This is the opinion of the director of the Couromoda, the International Shoes, Sportsgoods and Leathergoods Fair, Jeferson Santos.

"Brazil already has a profile to compete with the European market," he said.

Last year, Brazilian sector exports totaled US$ 5 billion, which represented growth of 11% over 2006, when the sector exported US$ 4.66 billion.

"In terms of volume, foreign sales dropped, but due to greater value-added products, we had growth of 11%," stated Santos. According to him, one of the buyer markets of these shoes is the Arab. "The Arabs buy middle and high-end shoes, mainly male shoes," he said.

According to Santos, the Arab countries are a potential market for Brazilian companies, but it is necessary to understand the consumer demand. "We have the desire and capacity for export," he said.

He also said that Brazil is currently different from China as it makes its own fashion. "Brazil no longer only sells commodities, it sells fashion," he said.  That is what the exhibitors at the 35th Couromoda have shown to over 70,000 visitors who visited until Thursday, January 17, the last day of the event.

The expectation of the organizers is for the fair to generate business of around 5.5 billion Brazilian reais (US$ 3.2 billion), against 5.2 billion reais (US$ 3 billion) last year.

"Brazil has potential to increase exports, despite the weakening dollar," he said. According to him, the country has production of 800 million pairs of shoes a year, being 120 million for export. The country is the third main world producer of shoes.

Last year, the average price of Brazilian shoes reached US$ 60 per pair, which shows that Brazil has been repositioning itself on the foreign market with greater value-added products. Currently, Brazilian shoes are shipped to over 100 countries.

The force of the leather and shoe chain is confirmed by the value it represents, 50 billion reais (US$ 29 billion), and by the turnover of the domestic market, around 35 billion reais (US$ 20 billion) in sales of shoes and artefacts, like handbags, cases, backpacks and accessories.

The 35th Couromoda, the main fair in the sector in Latin America, presents novelties by over 3,000 brands made by 1,100 companies. These exhibitors answer to 90% of the Brazilian production of shoes and leather products. Among the 70,000 visitors there were importers from over 50 countries.

Arab Market

Shipments of women's shoes by Brazilian brands Piccadilly and Via Uno to the Arab market are growing. Of all Brazilian exports of female shoes to Oman, for example, 19.5% are by Piccadilly. Via Uno, which exports 6% of production to the Arab countries, in turn, believes that sales to the region of greater value-added products should continue rising.

Both companies exhibited at the 35th Couromoda. Via Uno hopes to close a new order with a client in Dubai, who already has five franchises in the United Arab Emirates. "Dubai is an interesting market and is growing very much," stated the export manager at the company, Jadir Bergonsi.

According to the export manager at Piccadilly, Micheline Grings Twigger, the company also hopes to meet its exclusive clients from the Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. "The Middle Eastern market has been growing as a destination for our exports," he said. In company exports, the Arab market only loses to South and Central America.

The female shoes by Piccadilly also have strong representation in Kuwait, to where the company is responsible for 17% of all Brazilian female shoe exports. To Lebanon, the company had 14.2% participation in exports, and to Bahrain, 13%. "We sell all shoe lines to the Arabs, and make no modification," stated Micheline.

According to her, the company already works with exclusive clients in nine countries. "The search for our brand is great. Many Arabs seek us wanting to be distributors," she said.

Piccadilly, which started exporting to the Middle East in 2000, wants to win the countries of North Africa this year, including Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt and Libya. "For the brand to continue growing on the Arab market we want to have an exclusive client in each country," she finished off.

Piccadilly exports to 70 countries and around 30% of production is turned to the foreign market, being 10% to the Arab market. "It is a very important market to us," stated Micheline. At the fair, the company is bringing a new line of female shoes: Sport Comfort, which makes very comfortable shoes in varied colors. Apart from closed shoes, Piccadilly is exporting boots, sandals and sneakers.

The Via Uno stand is also bringing novelties in shoes and female handbags. The winter colors that the company is betting on this year are tones of grey, graphite, violet, red and black. The leather textures have been given finishing in varnish, which should be successful among Brazilian and foreign women.

Anba – www.anba.com.br

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