Publisher of leading trade magazines for the Footwear, Leather-goods, Leather & PPE industries

2016 S&V Newsletter No 05, February 8

S&V Footwear and Leather Goods / S&V African Leather


Edcon warns of head office cuts

Johannesburg (SA) – In a letter to suppliers on Friday, Edcon CEO and MD Bernie Brookes wrote: Following the letter I sent to you in December 2015, I wanted to update you on our evolving strategic process. You may recall that I shared with some of you the new executive team and spoke to our new journey that we have embarked on.
Our strategic plan process sees a significant shift towards reducing complexity in all areas of our business, developing a consumer centric strategy and streamlining decision making to create an agile business model thereby enabling needed growth.
South Africa as you know is facing a difficult trading environment As we advance the process of recalibrating our business model, there are some difficult decision that must be made at Edcon. The team and I are driving a change process, which is looking at innovative solutions and challenging the way we do things. The initial actions to this is reducing or Central cost burdens.
This has resulted in the next phase of our process, involving the restructuring of all Head office staff.
It is the last phase and will conclude our current restructure process. This may result in the significant loss of jobs at the Edcon head office over the next few months, as well as a new way of work dictated by a new operating model.
At Edcon we will always remain committed to treating employees fairly and remain responsible in this difficult process. Hence we are following a process which ensures minimal disruption to the business despite the quantum of the change.
I am reaching out to you to request that you understand our position and the process we are currently embarking on and further support us on this challenging change process.
Thank you for your understanding and your continued support.
I will write to you again following our Third quarter results announcement and at the conclusion of this restructuring process.


Havaianas changes hands

Cape Town (SA) – Alpargatas, the Brazilian company which owns flip flop brands Havaianas and Dupé, changed hands in November. According to The Wall Street Journal, J&F Investimentos paid “embattled” construction conglomerate Camargo Correa SA US$725 million for a 44.1% controlling stake.
Paul Lazarus, MD of SA Havaianas distributor Brazilian Sandal Co. (BSC), is to visit Brazil in March “to view the new collection and attend a conference with our Australian counterparts. This will be the first time we’ll see what’s new and available for the upcoming season.”
Like all importers, BSC has been affected by the exchange rate, but it has grown Havaianas sales in SA “substantially” over the past 3 years, and is to open its 8th concept store at the Mall of Africa in Johannesburg in April. – [+27 (0)21 511 1182,]



Hai-Kobo seeks backer to put spring in its step

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Ephraim Maisiri

Harare (Zimbabwe) – Fledgling footwear brand Hai-Kobo will promote its school shoe range at a Valentine’s Day event at Pakare Paye, outside Harare, on Saturday (February 13). It will be hosted by Afro-Jazz musician Dr Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi, who created the name – it refers to a dance style – in the 1970s.
If that seems an odd venue, a wide range of Zimbabwe’s decision makers will be there, explains Ephraim Maisiri, who has spent the last 5 years working on ways with Mtukudzi to turn Hai-Kobo into an apparel brand.
He will be in the audience, hoping the message gets through.
Based in South Africa and trading as Green-Tagg International (Pty) Ltd, he has so far worked with unnamed Durban factories to produce men’s and women’s fashion footwear, and school shoes, which have been sold to Meikles in Zimbabwe. He has also supplied fashion footwear to Socrati in SA.
Right now, he is looking for a partner or investor – manufacturer or retailer – to convert potential into business.
“Hai-Kobo is a brand, recognised by millions throughout Africa,” he said. “The goal is to turn it into an apparel brand.”
He has been licensed to use Hai-Kobo by Mtukudzi, who is also a ‘musician, businessman, philanthropist, human rights activist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for the Southern Africa Region’ (Wikipedia’s description).
“The concept is that it will be an African brand, not a particular country’s brand,” Maisiri said. “Likewise, the product could come from any country in Africa.”
He would like to help the informal sector – laid-off factory workers, or local crafters – produce for them, “tapping into other peoples’ skills”. He also tried manufacturing himself – and might do so again “when the time is right” – but the most practical route is working through existing factories. – [+27 (0)84 603 3886 (SA), +263 (0)77 294 1384 (Zimbabwe),]


Tanzania plans own cluster programme

Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) – The Leather Association of Tanzania is investigating establishing a footwear and leather goods cluster, and has sought information on the clusters set up in South Africa, according to LAT board member Elibariki Mmari. – []
In response, Jaywant Irkhede, director: leather & footwear at the Department of Trade & Industry, listed the clusters and their objectives as follows:
We have rapidly established one National Cluster (at VUT) and four Retail/Trade Collaborative Sub-national Clusters (Regional Clusters: Durban, Pietermaritzburg, George, Pretoria-UP) within the Leather & Footwear value chain through the dti Competitiveness Improvement Programme (CIP) grant funding of R 260 millions for 5 years. The clusters’ broad objectives are to enhance:
1. Collaboration between local Retail Trade and Industry
2. Competitiveness Improvement
3. Technology demonstration
4. Capacity building (scaling up)
5. Sector specific skills and education
6. SMME development
7. Employment creation

These cluster are vertical clusters mainly led by the industry, institutions, organised labour and retail distributive trade. The grants do not pay for building construction or rent. Thus the clusters are at the sites of industry OR universities.
Apart from these cluster we have other initiatives in pipeline:
1. Leather Processing Hub, Pietermaritzburg.
2. Centres of Footwear Entrepreneurship (CoFE X 3) through CoSE-DUT.
3. Integrated Industrial Footwear Township (IIFT).
4. Communal skins and hides beneficiation projects.
5. Intra-Industry Trade Clusters (IITC X 2). – []



Kenyan leather sector looks to SA to invest

Sagana (Kenya) – Sagana Tanneries director Yassin Awale has taken up a new role as leather sector advisor to the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Industrialisation and Enterprise Development in Kenya.
“The Government is really focusing on revamping the sector and is not sparing resources,” he wrote. “I have more or less taken up the role of sector liaison, between all stakeholders.
“It would be interesting to see what synergies we can develop with South Africa, trade and investment opportunities in Kenya and the region.”
He said he invited comment on attracting investment from SA. – []


Promark to sell Javlin work wear to co-ops

Johannesburg (SA) – The Industrial Clothing Company has appointed Promark to sell its Javlin work wear brand to co-ops.
Supplies are ex-stock from ICC’s warehouse. The contact person is Thomas Bredenkamp. – [+27 (0)12 546 5035, +27 (0)83 280 0680,,]



ABSA Agri Trends 29/01: Hides & skins prices

The average hide price traded slightly higher over the past week at R13,93/kg green. Hide prices are determined by the average of RMAA and independent companies.
The average price for Dorper skins traded higher at R84.44/skin and Merino traded lower at R79.17/skin.

Hide & skin price progression
Date Hides/Kg Dorper/Skin Merino Skin
27/11 13.11 78.75 71.11
15/01 13.45 83.13 84.89
22/01 13.79 82.50 79.79


Seton SA: Wedekind back from Europe

Nigel (SA) – Former Seton SA Marketing Director Detlef Wedekind, who was transferred to Seton Germany as European Sales Director 3 years ago, has returned to the local subsidiary. His current position is project manager, R&D.
His decision to return to South Africa was for personal reasons.




Port Elizabeth (SA) – The Little Slipper Company has announced that Kate Horne has been appointed CEO.

Hammarsdale (SA) – Ray Applegate, technical & QC manager at Coats SA, died of cancer last Monday, aged 69. An obituary will follow in S&V Footwear and Leather Goods Magazine.

Tony Vaubell – 10 years at Mr Price group. It was actually last year end of July, but still can’t believe how time has flown!!!


Birthdays this week

08/02/????: Miles O’Brien, retired, formerly Jordan Shoes, Cape Town.
09/02/1973: Steven Govender, Spunlok Laminators, Pinetown.
12/02/1951: Jack Bassage, Eddels Shoes, Pietermaritzburg.
12/02/1961: Jon Robb, Neptun Boot, Pinetown.
13/02/1950: Rowan Allison, Midland Leather, Pinetown.
13/02/1943: Val Barnes, retired, formerly Edcon, Durban.
13/02/1975: Naeem Sonpra, Sonpra Bros, Polokwane/Pietersburg.
13/02/1964: Jean-Marc Tostee.
13/02/1977: Steven Eckstein, Sports Action, Durban.
14/02/1975: Alita Scholtz, All Protection Safety, Vanderbijlpark.
14/02/1951: Maryse de Ranero, Great Brak River.
14/02/????: Janine du Preez, freelance consultant, Cape Town.


In Memoriam this week

09/02/2006: Hubertus ‘Hub’ Bijsterveld (b. 11/12/1932), Bata Zimbabwe and other Bata companies, Gweru.
10/02/1997: Don Craig, Cape Knife, Cape Town.
11/02/2009: Frederick Bernard Cattell (b. 17/08/1917), Cattell’s, Springs.
14/02/2004: Brian Matkovich (b. 06/02/1941), Futura Footwear, Pinetown.


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Next newsletter: February 15, 2016

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