Bruna Garcia Fonseca
São Paulo – The International Shoe and Accessories Fashion Fair (Francal) is about to reach its 51st edition, featuring spring-summer collections by the leading brands in the industry. The event will welcome about 40 guest importers from 16 countries, including an Arab one: the Doha, Qatar-based 2point, which sells women’s, men’s and children’s shoes at its eight outlets.
The initiative is the Importer Program, a partnership involving Francal and the Brazilian Footwear Industry Association (Abicalçados) whereby selected international buyers get travel and accommodation paid for. Fairgoers will fly in from the United States, Russia, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, India, Poland, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Panama and Martinique, plus Qatar.
The biggest, longest-standing footwear show in Brazil will run from June 3 to 5 at Expo Center Norte, São Paulo. Organizers said that besides the international guest buyers, some 1,000 walk-in importers from 150 countries are expected to attend, including other Arab ones.
Francal chairman Abdala Jamil Abdala said exports are part of the DNA of Brazilian footwear. “Foreign markets are very interested in buying Brazilian shoes, since most importers are willing to visit us on their own. We are expecting to export 44 million pairs of shoes this year,” Abdala told ANBA. What sets Brazilian product apart, according to him, is a combination of quality, comfort and competitive pricing.
As for Arab countries, he said the Middle East and North Africa is a very relevant region to the Brazilian industry. “We are hoping to see more Arab buyers. They always come to our show and are buying more and more of our products,” he claimed. During last year’s edition, ANBA spoke with the director-general for Saudi department store chain Almoosa.
A Syrian descendant, Abdala has been the chairman for Francal since the year 2000. He said Brazilian shoes are highly regarded in other countries.” Everyone enjoys Brazil’s congenial way of doing business,” he argued
Besides new product by hundreds of brands, Francal will feature the 100% Retail area, offering a gamut of services, products and solutions to retailers in a 2,000-sqm area. “Retail is changing every day, and we are paying close attention to those changes. The 100% Retail space will feature solutions designed to attract buyers, with new technologies and an actual demonstration of how best to showcase products and arrange window shops and façades, as well as ways to cater to your customers,” explained Abdala.
Abicalçados has good expectations for Francal. “Francal is responsible for kickstarting the sale of collections which account for over 70% of total production in Brazil,” a press release quoted Abicalçados chairman Heitor Klein as saying.
Klein said he’s optimistic about foreign markets, since whenever the US dollar gets stronger, the price of Brazilian footwear becomes more competitive. “And then you have the fact that the United States market is rebounding, and that country is switching to new suppliers due to uncertainty wrought by the trade war with China,” said Klein, commenting on the fact that the USA have raised taxes on China-made shoes from 10% to 25%.
Brazil is the third biggest shoe manufacturer in the world, trailing only China and India. “Brazil makes 950 million pairs a year. China makes 13 billion, but I can safely say that we have better quality than they do,” said Abdala.
The 51st edition of Francal will feature 350 exhibitors, 25 of which are international, in 30,000-sqm worth of fairgrounds. “Francal is the place where industry deals take place, and it can be a major driver of second-half sales, especially in the domestic market. We are expecting a consistent show, even though our economy is at a critical junction, and we are confident that the scenario will improve and that sales will increase both locally and internationally,” concluded Abdala.
Expo Center Norte
Rua José Bernardo Pinto, 333
São Paulo, SP
Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum