Argentina’s footwear faces endless crisis: “Industry is collapsing at this point”

Very tough times for Argentina’s footwear industry: 9,000 jobs up in smoke since 2015, 3,000 of which in 2018. Agustín Amicone, general secretary of UTICRA, the footwear industry workers trade union, provided such figures. “Aiming to explain the situation we have been dealing with, I can say – remarked the trade union leader – shoe factories are in trouble. That would be the best option anyway”. Reasons accountable for such decline, among others, are the economic recession Argentina is currently going through and the deregulation of imports of finished products, alongside a downturn in sales, in the domestic market, and a steady price inflation. At this point, considering the overall scenario, several Argentinian brands have been opting for imports rather than manufacturing. As reported by the Revista Del Calzado, the latest incident is about the closure of Tecnosport Latinoamérica, one of Nike’s manufacturers based in the province of Buenos Aires. “The industry is collapsing as a matter of fact”, pointed out Amicone. He went on: “Such heavy recession is going to affect our business deeply: leaving it behind us, or just taking a break, will be very expensive”. Argentina’s government is striving hard to support footwear. “I do not believe in resurrections whatsoever, I do not need any oxygen therapy for casualties – commented at Marco Meloni, president of Italcolore dyeing plant, located in Luján, and vice-president of Fundación ProTejer –. Over 400 small and medium-sized companies, in the textile and footwear industry, have shut down”. One of the symbols of Argentina’s crisis is Alpargatas, now controlled by Brazilian owners, which runs a number of factories in Argentina: they have just shut down three of them, therefore reducing considerably their employees (there were 3,700 of them in 2015: they went down by over 33% at present). Their textile plant, situated in Catamarca, hiring 90 employees, is now for sale. Fibran Sur Corporation is allegedly ready to buy it shortly.



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