The 49th edition of FRANCAL, International Shoe and Accessories Fashion Fair, terminated on July 5, Wednesday, at Expo Center Norte, in São Paulo. The fashion fair disclosed to the market footwear and accessories collections of 1,500 national brands for the spring-summer, season that accounts for almost 70% of the annual business in the sector.

The fair gathered 33,800 professional visitors from all regions of Brazil and the Federal District, including 13,600 shopkeepers – that is, 40% of the total number. The strong presence of this public, which is engaged in conducting business with the exhibiting companies, proves the tendency for the market to become more professional.

Out of the total number of retailers, 600 came from 17 cities of the countryside of the states of São Paulo and Minas Gerais in caravans subsidized by the fair and organized in partnership with commercial associations and chambers of store managers.

For Abdala Jamil Abdala, chairperson of the International Shoe and Accessories Fashion Fair – FRANCAL, the fair has met the expectation of continuous recovery of the sales both in the domestic and international markets that began this year. “The exhibitors’ feedback was quite positive, with effective and prospective sales, including for international clients.” As Abdala puts it, both the footwear industry and the retail market represent sectors that know how to benefit from the opportunities offered as a result of a more prosperous economic outlook, and FRANCAL has accomplished its duty to meet the market needs. “The fair has presented what is best in the Brazilian footwear and accessories production for the spring-summer season and boosted the business of the second semester.”

The chief executive of the Brazilian Association of the Footwear Industries – Abicalçados, Heitor Klein, emphasizes that the fair has accomplished the duty to kick off the most important selling season, volume-wise, of the Brazilian industry. “The spring-summer season accounts for almost 70% of the total Brazilian foot-wear sales. In such scenario, FRANCAL has always measured how the market behaves and this edition was no different. Companies that managed to control costs and keep the price, investing in innovative products, had positive results, while for others the results were not so good.

The segment, despite starting a gradual recovery, is still too insecure as for the course of the economy, which is historically affected by political instability,” the manager states. According to Klein, in general, the footwear industry, when compared to the processing industry, has experienced less the effects of the crisis, recording growth of both internal and external sales in the first months of the year.

The retail sales had, between January and April 2017, a 6.3% increase compared to the same period in the last year, while the revenue of exports had a 20% growth between January and May during the same period. “There is a gradual recovery indeed, however, the footwear sector needs to understand that the sustainability of this process depends on how the industry behaves as well, which must invest in differentiated products that is capable of attracting consumers to a new consumer model,” he adds.

For the Brazilian Association of Artifact and Footwear Store Owners (Ablac), throughout the fair, the shopkeepers had the opportunity to learn about the launches of footwear and accessory manufacturers for the spring-summer season and conduct business with them. “We expect that the sales of shoes will increase again within the next months, and so the shopping during the fair was to meet the estimated de-mand,” Marcone Tavares, chairperson of the entity, says. He points out the innovative nature and the design of the products presented by the industries at FRANCAL. FRANCAL also held countless activities that were important for Ablac.

The entity officially displayed Treinalojas, an app for training of sellers, which is going to be used by networks of associate stores in July. Besides, the fair gathered its executive board to analyze the projects carried out throughout the first semester, highlighting the ef-forts to approve the labor reform in the capital city of Brasília, which chairperson Mar-cone Tavares visited in person three times in order to get in touch with congressmen.

Importers Over 900 importers from 54 countries attended the fair to make deals with Brazilian manufacturers. Out of those companies, 58 were invited by FRANCAL, par-ticularly from Arabian and Latin American countries. The expansion of the number of countries compared to the 45 represented last year is due to the extensive endeavor of international disclosure of the fair and the Brazilian footwear performed by FRANCAL in the foreign market throughout the year. For Abdala, the Brazilian footwear has the “Import DNA,” since the sector has not ceased to import even during unfavorable moments of the exchange variation.

The increasing sales for the foreign market during the first five months of the year, according to Abdala, proves that Brazil is trying to take its place back in the foreign market. “The worldwide visibility of FRANCAL has attracted buyers of more markets, many of them strategic ones, and brought positive results for the exhibitors. The kick-off that the fair represented for bigger and lasting opportunities for the industry is as crucial as the business achieved during the edition,” he estimates.

The five fashion shows held on July 3, 4 and 5 were among the most remarkable moments of FRANCAL 2017. Exhibitors and visitors interested not only in knowing tendencies of the season in the women’s, men’s and kids’ lines, but also in the impressive production crowded the Arena Summer Francal at every presentation.

Models showcased iconic products of the exhibiting brands on the catwalks, curated by the style team of the VOGUE magazine. The debut fashion show, held on July 3, was followed by a panel of the magazine, where Silvia Rogar, editorial office director, Donata Meirelles, style director, and the stylists of the magazine commented the choices and detailed the new consumer desires for the Brazilian summer in 2018.

This edition of FRANCAL provided visitors, exhibitors and all those that create, study, produce, and trade shoes and accessories with professional content. Such expertise was transmitted by specialists and decision makers in events such as the Francal Forum, thanks to a talk given by designer and fashion consultant Walter Rodrigues, and in the Girassol and Tulipa stages, where Francal Talks took place. A panel discussed, in the opening ceremony, “The Country that will succeed,” while in the others iconic products of the exhibiting brands were displayed in the fashion shows.

For Francal Business manager Malu Fiorese, the content provided valued the products displayed by the exhibitors, offering the visitors knowledge of the concepts guiding the development of the spring-summer collections of the brands. “That is the reason the talks and other events are part of FRANCAL programming: to provide shopkeepers with information about fashion and the most modern retail techniques so that they can increase and qualify their sales.”
FRANCAL 50 years.
The next edition of FRANCAL is going to take place on July 16-19, 2018, when the fair will celebrate its 50th anniversary. Abdala promises there will be novelties to surprise the market and celebrate the relevance of one of the world’s most long-lived fairs of the sector.