NICARAGUA: Seen as "rising star" US footwear supplier
Nicaragua is seen as a "rising star" when it comes to its potential to supply footwear to the US, a report says, providing another option to offset the dominance of China as a sourcing destination.
The Annual Footwear Sourcing Forecast published by the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) notes that China accounted for 85.3% of all US footwear imports in 2011.
But while this was the lowest market percentage in seven years, firms are being advised to restructure their sourcing strategies and options due to China's increasing prices, shortages in labor and increased compliance costs, and "keep an eye on Cambodia, Bangladesh and Nicaragua".
The report also forecasts that imports into the US will continue to grow from US$22.7bn in 2011 to US$25.2bn by 2016. This gives room for emerging sources to substantially increase their exports into the country.
Companies already operating in Nicaragua include Schmidt Irmaos, a Brazilian women's footwear maker, which plans to add up to 4,000 jobs. Likewise, Brazilian shoe manufacturer Aniger intends to employ 1,200 workers and produce up to 10,000 pairs of shoes a day.
An international forum titled "Nicaragua, The Right Step", is due to take place from 13-14 June in Managua to outline the development and investment opportunities in the country's footwear manufacturing sector.
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