The big brands of sports shoes are switching from producing for the Asian market to the Portuguese market, given the increase in energy and transport costs, with companies in Guimarães even producing what until now was mainly made in China.
The consideration is Finished by the President of the Portuguese Association of Footwear and Substitute Leather Goods Components Industry (APICCAPS) to the newspaper echoadding that the demand from these European and American giants for the Portuguese market has been “brutal”, noting a “clear relocation from China and other Asian countries”.
One of the examples cited by the newspaper is Darita, based in Guimarães. It currently exports 90% of its items to the European market and has recorded a higher production increase than what was achieved before the pandemic, revealing that the company is on the right track. Filipe Mora, CEO of the company, gave the example of customers “who used to earn 10% here and 90% on the other side, and now they spend 50% here”, mainly because of the cost of transport.
Mora recalls that the choice of these big brands for the Asian market is mainly due to the price achieved, which is not so strong nowadays due to the increase in production costs in these markets, leading the big brands to focus on quality – and this is what Portuguese factories do.
With more than a hundred employees, Darita was founded 31 years ago by a family from Guimarães and in 2021 generated around five million euros through the production of footwear for men and women.
However, there is a downside, which even affects all industrial and commercial segments in Portugal: the lack of manpower. “We needed skilled labour, which doesn’t exist, to work the shoes on a daily basis. And when more orders appear, as it does, we have to put more people. Some people leave by age [para a reforma] and we need to hire new ones. These people we have been forced to admit will learn, but it takes time,” said Filipe Mora. echo.
Another company from Guimarães has also managed to take advantage of the “wave” of trade from Asia to Portugal carried out by the large sports shoe companies and, with almost 200 employees and a turnover of 18 million per year, Celita has increased its customer base, not only in size, but above all in quality.
CEO, Paulo Martins, in statements to Eco, reveals that some of the new customers “had problems in terms of logistics and transport cost [da Ásia para a Europa] It happened amazingly. He explains that these companies currently run less risk if they produce in Portugal than if they do so in China.
However, Paulo Martins warns: “This increase in demand in Portugal could possibly be temporary, to solve some problems at the moment and, things stabilizing, return to normal”
He adds: “(…) we have our customers who must be satisfied first and then only the others. Plans to increase production? Not at this time. We have always been cautious in our investments”.
José Moura, from Calsuave, from Guimarães, affirms to the same newspaper that this situation is temporary and advises caution to colleagues in the footwear industry: “The brands have turned to Europe, but it is volatile, it is not the way to go”. . They fill the factories with work because they don’t have the possibility to do it elsewhere, but when they have the possibility, they return there”.