Cheap leather shoes, a thing of the past

Redwood Comment
Published:  02 December, 2015
Mike Redwood

As we suddenly realise that another year is rushing to an end, it is apparent that every sector of the leather industry is learning what a roller coaster ride looks like. Just as the industry got used to "always high" hide prices, they started falling and half a year was spent holding out for the new "bottom". After years of waiting for a slowdown in China, up it came, and at just the wrong moment.

And then, there was a little thing called geopolitical change, which had already made Ukraine and Russia difficult to sell into, when the most recent events made those important markets for Turkey almost inaccessible to them.

All the time behind the scenes currencies have been fluctuating, what has made life harder for countries like India but a little better for places such as Portugal; where all the "negatives", weak currency, desperately low interest rates and cheap oil, have allowed a 54% jump in footwear exports in the last five years.

This is significant since these are leather shoes and not part of the other trend of the last five years towards synthetic and textile footwear. In Portugal, we see the balancing of craftsmanship and efficiency, along with a long standing reputation for good quality. 

Yet, at the same time both Pakistan and Bangladesh, where we are glad to see the "move by the end of the year or close" ultimatum to the Hazaribagh tanners, are planning to move into footwear as they feel over dependent on the garment business. Given what looks like a declining long term market, picking suitable segments will be challenging. Cheap leather shoes now look like a thing of the past.

 Listen to the podcast here: Cheap leather shoes, a thing of the past

Mike Redwood

mike@internationalleathermaker.com

Follow Mike Redwood on twitter: @michaelredwood

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