By NG WEI LOONweiloon@thestar.com.my
SHARING the same hot and humid weather throughout the year was a key factor behind Brazilian footwear manufacturer, Grendene's, decision to introduce its anchor Rider sandals range to the Malaysian market in 2000.
“The scorching weather here in Malaysia is similar to Brazil. As a result, people prefer to put on their sandals,” said Grendene export co-ordinator Fernando Pintos Borges.
Despite an impressive track record with annual sales volume reaching 140mil pairs in 85 countries, the company is pragmatic with its sales projection in Malaysia.
“Our aim is not about selling our sandals in millions. However, it is necessary to make our presence felt to create brand awareness in this region,” Borges explained.
The two other brands under the Grendene banner retailing in Malaysia are the iPanema and Grendha.
iPanema was introduced here in 2004 followed by Grendha a year later.
Besides Royal Sporting House (RSH) in Malaysia, Grendene is also working with RSH in Singapore and Hong Kong to market its products in the Asian region.
“In Malaysia, Grendene sandals sales grew from 20,000 to 60,000 pairs between 2000 and 2005,” said RSH (M) Sdn Bhd assistant merchandise manager Agnes Ignatious, who expects sales to reach 70,000 pairs this year.
For the 2006 iPanema sandals collection, it is offering flip-flop in various attractive colours and insole patterns that incorporate tropical designs.
“In Brazil, we have about 4,800km of beach line. Generally, there is a strong demand for various styles of beachwear,” said Borges.
Sandals in the Brazilian traditional green and yellow colours are expected to be popular when football fever hits its peak during the 2006 Fifa World Cup.
The iPanema men's sandals are retailing between RM19.90 and RM79.90 while the women's sandals range from RM22.90 to RM59.90.
The Rider brand, established in 1986, has developed more than 70 different PVC formulations with different textures and densities in trendy comfortable designs at affordable prices.
Grendene footwear products are available at RSH and Studio R outlets and selected dealers nationwide.
For more details, call RSH (M) Sdn Bhd (03-7783 9930).