Local production hits 40m pairs, imports 158m
PINETOWN (SA) - It’s official - local footwear manufacturing is on the mend, and last year reached over 40m pairs - nearly two thirds of the size of the industry at its height.
In the SA Footwear and Leather Industry Association’s annual report, issued in June, executive director Dennis Linde called this year’s edition the ‘good news’ report, a marked change from years of recording decline. He said some question marks remain. Import statistics come from Statistics SA and show imports reaching 158m pairs last year. That gives a total market size of 198m pairs - 196m when exports are deducted. “We don’t believe the market is that big,” Linde said. “We also don’t think a high percentage of these shoes are for re-export. Therefore, we believe that there are companies sitting with massive stocks.” He said a particularly pleasing aspect was the growth in exports, and that, too, contained a surprise. Industrial footwear - leather and gumboots - is now the fastest growing export category, and Africa is the biggest export destination, with Zimbabwe - of all places - being the biggest single market.
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