Apparel and footwear specialist retailers saw a sharp drop off in sales in 2020 as a result of lockdown. Non-essential retailers like this saw operating restrictions over the year that drastically cut footfall, and consumers staying at home had less need to buy these products anyway.
The devaluation of currencies in Bolivia’s as an effect of the economic recession caused by the pandemic has led to a significant increase in contraband apparel and footwear, with products smuggled from Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay being sold at significantly lower price points as a result. Consumer price sensitivity is sharpening, and a result response to these grey market products has been strong, further restricting recovery.
Footwear retailing in in Bolivia is fragmented, and becoming more so. Leading player Manufactura Boliviana SA, which includes Manaco, Bata and Bubble Gummers among its main fascia, has steadily seen its value share of apparel and footwear specialist retailers fall over the review period.
The growth in smuggling that the apparel and footwear industry has been facing for several years is a significant problem; according to the Chamber of Commerce, nearly 100,000 clothing outlets have closed since 2013 as a result. If the devaluation of the currency continues in Bolivia’s neighbours, contraband levels are set to escalate.
Major shoe chains including Bata and Fair Play are beginning to develop a more carefully targeted marketing strategy. Fair Play SRL has launched its Youth store chain that focuses on urban fashion footwear, aimed at a millennial and younger segment of upper-middle income consumers.
The low levels of formal employment in Bolivia means that most consumers do not have reliable sources of income, a situation that has worsened during the pandemic. As a result, there is a significant used clothing trade, an activity that is technically illegal in the country, but which is widely seen in popular urban and rural street markets.
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Apparel and footwear specialists are chained or independent retail outlets with a primary focus on selling one or more of the following categories: clothing, footwear, and/or fashion accessories (costume jewellery, sunglasses, belts, hats, gloves, handbags, scarves, etc.). Apparel specialists include specialty apparel like wedding dress shops. Example brands include Primark, TJ Maxx, and Zara. Sportswear retailers, such as Adidas and Nike, are excluded from this channel and are included in Sports Goods Stores; this is due to the companies considering themselves sports companies as opposed to apparel companies.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Apparel and Footwear Specialists research and analysis database.
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