21 April 2005
Spaniards will be buying South African in May and June after a deal was struck with Spanish retail group El Corte Ingles and SA’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) that will result in immediate export orders worth about R30-million.
El Corte Ingles will run its South Africa Month from 21 May to 11 June, selling SA products in 72 of its stores across Spain and Portugal.
The products will range from arts, crafts, clothing, hand-painted tableware and beaded items to jewellery, African-inspired ceramics, art deco and music.
The group will also promote South Africa as a tourist destination in both its in-store and franchised travel agencies.
El Corte Ingles, Spain’s third-largest company, has 70 department stores and 30 hypermarkets throughout Spain and Portugal. The company is renowned for innovation, and sells a broad range of products, including textiles, hardware, groceries and houseware.
“This project will result in immediate export orders to the value of approximately R30-million, and for some of the businesses involved it will also result in long-term orders from El Cortes Ingles”, Hendricks told journalists in Pretoria on Thursday.
Spanish Ambassador to South Africa Miguel Mazarambroz said that while Spain and South Africa were far apart geographically, “if we deepen our knowledge of one another, we will all gain”.
The striking of the deal came after discussions dating back to 2003, when El Corte Ingles approached Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Lindiwe Hendricks and Deputy President Jacob Zuma while they were visiting the country.
The DTI, in partnership with SA trade missions and through its export assistance programmes and grants, will be on hand to help debutant SA exporters meet El Corte Ingles’ demands for high quality, uniquely styled products.
In 2004, during a similar promotion involving the Spanish retailer, some small businesses that had been identified as potential suppliers were unable to meet the required quantities, and also struggled with the strengthening rand.
“We need to confront these issues so that in our interventions we are able to work with businesses to address issues of quality, design and production efficiencies”, Hendricks said.