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The Footwear Industry
South Africa’s footwear manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers are struggling in the face of tough economic conditions. South African Footwear and Leather Industry Association (Saflia) figures show that local market demand for footwear was 264 million pairs in 2018, with local production accounting for less than one-quarter of demand. While local production decreased by nearly 9 million pairs or 13.3% in 2018, imports grew by 3.3 million pairs, or 1.6%. This drop in production can, in part, be attributed to a protracted strike in the industry in the middle of 2018.
Employment in the labour-intensive industry continues to decline. The textiles, clothing, leather and footwear sector was identified being critical to the industrial development of the South African economy in the Department of Trade and Industry’s Industrial Policy Action Plan, and a masterplan for the sector has been compiled. Incentives have been introduced to encourage investment and a footwear cluster was developed in response to government funding aimed at improving competitiveness.
This report focuses on the manufacture, wholesale and retail of footwear in South Africa, including descriptions of the size and state of the industry and the factors that influence it. There are comprehensive profiles of 60 companies that operate in the sector. These include AVI, which reported that its footwear business, which includes Spitz and Green Cross, struggled in the six months to end-December 2018. Details of the closure of Green Cross manufacturing facilities are provided in the report. There are also profiles of Eddels Shoes, which forms part of Celrose, which was sold by Edcon, Bata, which holds an estimated 45% of the leather school-shoe market, and Pepkor, the owner of Shoe City and Tekkie Town, with the latter involved in a number of legal battles.