The local footwear industry registers one-third of the yearly sales ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr festival. Hopeful for a better profit, shoemakers preparing to grab the market.
The industry has been passing a difficult time since the COVID-19 outbreak, businessmen are hopeful to make up part of the loss suffered throughout the period. But the current lockdown slimed the possibility.
Fresh lockdown hits the shoe industry again as it started recovering. Similarly, to the strict lockdown around this time, last year ruined the business of the industry before Eid. Shops remained shut for two months.
After the easing of restriction, shoemakers saw a slow increase in sales. At the end of 2020, the shoe business gained its pre-pandemic pace.
But as the govt. declared another lockdown from 14 April to restrain the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry feels vulnerable again.
Before the pandemic, the market annually expanding at a rate of 12-15% a year.
Including more than 15 well-known brands, there are as many as 500 shoemakers in the country. The local footwear market is rather led by small companies, engaging some hundreds of thousands of men and women.
Though some multinational footwear companies have huge popularity, a dozen local companies have established their appeal over the last few decades to fulfill the local demand.
The local renowned manufacturers include Apex Footwear, Orion, Bay, Jennys, Fortune Shoes, Fortuna, Hamco, Crescent, Vibrant, Leatherex, STEP, Walkar, Falcon, Zeils, Shampan, etc.
In a festival time like Eid-ul-Fitr, shoppers buy new shoes and small and big brands depend on the festival season to boost sales.
Apex Footwear’s business was miserable last year because of the coronavirus. About 30-40% of its annual sales target is achieved before Pahela Baishakh (the first day of Bangla new year) and Eid-ul-Fitr.
Officials of the company are concerned about business because they are facing a similar situation this year.
An official of Apex, “The export of shoes [by Apex] is not picking up. We were surviving through local sales.”
With 200 outlets across the country, Apex endured a huge loss last year. Targeting the season, the company has rolled out new products this year.
he added, “What will we do with the stock now!”
Md Saifur Rahman, proprietor of Naz shoes said to a local newspaper, “Eid season is the peak time for sales. But we are going to miss this season for the second consecutive year.”
Footwear companies take loans for production, he said, adding that they had faced hard situations over repayment of loans and now they were also worried over making payments of workers’ salaries.