More than 1,000 companies with about 3,000 brands, nearly 99 percent of them Brazilian, were represented on 82,000 square meters of exhibition space at the big Francal shoe show in São Paulo, which took place earlier than usual on June 27-30 to allow buyers to order items for delivery as early as the end of July, in time for the closing of the winter sale season and the beginning of the spring/summer selling season.

The number of daily visits increased to 58,400, compared with about 53,000 one year ago. A total of 28,200 buyers from Brazil and from 66 other countries attended the show. This included 15 buyers from Italy, France and Ukraine who were invited through the Image Project organized by the Brazilian shoe industry association, Abicalçados, and the Brazilian export promotion agency, Apex Brasil.

In spite of strong inflationary pressures, which have led many shoemakers to raise their prices as in the rest of the world, the buying mood was described as positive. Brazilian shoe retailers expect their sales to go up by about 8 percent on an annualized basis for the period from July through the end of this year, indicating a small increase in terms of volume.

This compares with growth of 13 percent in value and 8 percent in volume for the Brazilian shoe market in 2010. In the first half of the year, the growth declined to an estimated 10 percent in value and 5 percent in volume. Statistics collected by Peter Mangione, the U.S. consultant, indicate that footwear consumption in Brazil has increased to four pairs per capita annually and is likely to reach five pairs in a few years' time. Furthermore the average price per pair has been going up.