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04/07/2017 - 07:00hs
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Arabs seeking partners at Francal expo

Saudi Arabia’s Elixir is looking for footwear suppliers for its new store chain, Kuwait’s Hazar Shoes wants to become a franchisee for a Brazilian brand and Oxygen, also from Kuwait, plans to keep on buying.



Isaura Daniel/ANBA

Elixir professionals at Francal: deal-seeking

São Paulo – Arab importers are at Francal – the International Shoe and Accessories Fashion Fair – looking for Brazilian partners and suppliers. The trade show began this Sunday (2) at Expo Center Norte, São Paulo, and will continue until Thursday (5). Arab companies at the fairgrounds include Elixir United, of Saudi Arabia, Hazar Shoes, of Kuwait, and Oxygen, also of Kuwait.

This is the first time Elixir has representatives over to Brazil. The Saudi Arabian company’s businesses include a shoe and purse store chain with 12 units, and a clothing chain for Muslim women named Al-Motahajiba, with five units. It also plans on opening a new women’s shoe chain called Dots.

Elixir’s supply chain manager Mohammed Shahzad Khan is in Brazil with his coworker, the buyer Gamal Abdel Mageed, to find a Brazilian supplier for the new Dots brand.

According to Khan, Brazilian shoes offer good pricing, quality and variety. The Saudi company plans to sell Brazilian-made shoes under its brand, and hopes to find five or six different suppliers in the country. The plan is to launch Dots in September or shortly thereafter. Elixir’s Bonia brand relies on product from Malaysia.

Isaura Daniel/ANBA

Bairouti and Alfarraj: first time in Brazil

Two executives from the Kuwaiti women’s shoes outlet chain Hazar Shoes are also at Francal: general manager Nawaf Alfarraj and marketing manager Adam Bairouti. Hazar’s ten outlets sell shoes imported from countries including Turkey, Italy and China. They are in Brazil to become franchisees for a local brand. Alfarraj is yet to find the right partners.

This is Hazar’s first time in Brazil as well. They are looking for good prices, quality and good delivery times, and for product that combines comfort and design. Hazar Shoes sells medium- and high-end leather and synthetic shoes.

Frequent visitors

The company Oxygen, also from Kuwait, sent its general manager, Omar Daifallah, to Francal. Oxygen generates USD 7 million per year and sells women, men and children footwear via the brands Oxygen, Good Feet and Mr. Walk. It has five stores in Kuwait and 22 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Isaura Daniel/ANBA

Daifallah, of Oxygen, already imports product from Brazil

The Kuwaiti company started doing business with Brazil 12 years ago and import brands such as Democrata, Piccadilly, Klin and Azaleia, plus footwear from China, United States, Italy, Germany, Spain and Turkey. Daifallah is a frequent visitor in Brazilian footwear trade shows. According to him, footwear from Brazil are good, but sometimes one needs to negotiate prices. Last year, Oxygen imported 50,000 shoe pairs from Brazil.

Francal also had other Arab importers visiting, invited by the fair’s organization and by the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, a partner of the trade show. The Arab Chamber has a staff team at the fair to provide support to Arab importers. Francal has been working to attract a larger number of foreign buyers. Near ten days before the fair, the organization already had confirmed importers from 17 countries.

Brazil accounts for 4.6% of the world’s footwear production and is an important global supplier. From January to May of this year, the Brazilian footwear industry exported 49.1 million shoe pairs, up 1.1% over the same period of 2016. Revenues from sales increased 20% to USD 441 million in the same comparison, according to data by the Brazilian Footwear Industry Association (Abicalçados).

Isaura Daniel/ANBA

Klein (center) spoke at press conference

In a press conference at Francal, Abicalçados’ president, Heitor Klein, mentioned some obstacles to a larger participation in the global market, such as the high tax burden, labor charges, high interest rates and infrastructure problems. “They burden our product too much, but even so we are able to be present in over 150 countries.”

Data from the Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services (MDIC) shows that Brazilian footwear exports to the Arab countries dropped 34% from January to May to USD 16.5 million. “We are learning how to enter the Arab market,” said Klein. But he underscored that the sector will persist in the market and reminded that there are footwear companies operating in the region. “These are cautious steps. It’s still early to strong investments,” he said.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum and Sérgio Kakitani

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