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Brazilian manufacturers pursuing growth

Blumenau, Brazil – With many of the major Brazilian home textiles suppliers experiencing strong domestic growth at home and within South America lately, several are planning for growth – in capacity, new product categories and importing/exporting.

The 103-year-old vertical manufacturer Lepper, which holds the bedding and bath licenses for about a dozen children´s brands like Hello Kitty, Batman, Barbie and some Disney properties, is actively exploring importing opportunities with Asia to add new product categories that the company doesn´t already offer, such as soft window treatments. 

Enio Kohler, director of marketing, told HTT the products would include sythetic fiber-made goods in categories "that complement our current offerings." 

In other news, Lepper is building a new manufacturing plant that measures 35,000 square meters in its hometown in Joinville, near here, to replace its existing 33,000 square meter site.
"We need a better layout to allow for an increased product line," he said. The new site is slated to be up and running in the next three years.

Sultan, a 40-year-old firm which offers a full line of home textiles including bedding, bath, soft window treatments, slip covers and blankets among other items, is expanding its Sao Paulo-based facility – one of two in Brazil – with new manufacturing equipment from Italy, Russia and Germany. This new manufacturing and warehousing site will at first be dedicated to pillow and comforter production. But other products will also be made there in the near future.

Teka is one of the few Brazilian home textiles companies that has sustained an export program, albeit limited, to the states. While the company plans in the coming five years to "concentrate as much as possible on our local market and make money doing business in Brazil," said Marcello Stewers, director, vp, the company plans to maintain its small U.S. business – 1.5% of the company´s total sales – "as a service to many of our longtime high-end customers there."

Upscale home textiles house Altenburg has also greatly reduced its export business to the U.S. to less than 1% of total sales to give greater focus to its booming business in Brazil. Domestic growth has sparked several expansion efforts that include: a new manufacturing plant that is expected to be completed by this July in northern Brazil to increase pillow capacity by 35% and the launch of a new memory foam pillow and mattress product division.

Coteminas – the Brazilian division of Springs Global – came to Texfair do Brasil this week concentrating solely on its domestic brands -- Artex and Santista.

The company told HTT that the idea is to "re-energize" the two brands within Latin America. Both of them long-existing brands here that were bought many years ago by Coteminas, Artex serves middle to upper income customer, and Santista serves more the middle to lower level shopper. For example, sheet thread counts range from about 180 to 400 for Artex and hit about 150 for Santista.

The company recently created two separate staffs to serve each brand in designing and developing. Both divisions are based in Brazil, and all of the products for each are manufactured domestically, as well.

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