To buy a pair of sneakers in Venezuela 6,746 hours of work are required, while in Argentina it takes 94 hours and 55 minutes. At the other extreme is Uruguay, where a person requires 47 hours 30 minutes of work and in Chile, 32 hours 28 minutes. The calculation arises from a study carried out by Focus Market, which took into account the necessary working hours of a living and mobile minimum wage measured in dollars to acquire Clothing and Footwear in Latin American countries. The diagnosis took into account the increase in prices observed due to a lower level of supply and production, due to cost increases, due to the structural situation of supply of inputs worldwide and due to the local macroeconomic imbalance.

The consultant carried out this exercise with the average value of a pair of top brand running shoes that, in Argentina (where the minimum, vital and mobile salary is equivalent to US $ 155), costs US $ 61.30. High inflation is the main cause of price asymmetries. For that reason, in Venezuela (where the minimum wage is US $ 2.40), that pair of sneakers is worth US $ 67.46, but it takes more hours of work to buy them. In Chile, in turn, the salary was calculated at US $ 441, and the product costs US $ 59.60.

“While the salary is gaining ground in the face of the different adjustments of parity sections, its purchasing power in terms of the purchase of clothing and footwear does not manage to compensate for the rise in prices in the domestic market. 70% in this category the income of Argentines is cut to less than half for the same period, “he said. Damián Di Pace, director of the consulting firm.

In the case of buying a jean in Venezuela, 3,950 hours of work are required, in Argentina 83 hours and 36 minutes (average cost of U $ S 54), while at the other extreme in Ecuador it takes 34 hours 48 minutes and in Chile 29 hours 28 minutes. “There is more than one reason for the increase in prices in clothing and footwear. Cotton in the midst of the pandemic was not available, inputs had stock losses, freight from Asia had increases of up to 500%, the uncertainty of the opening of stores led to production being carried out with low volume for the spring seasons -summer and autumn and winter and, as it were, little closed many companies in the sector. Demand plummeted but supply fell further. To this must be added the general one that on the evolution of prices in Argentina, product of a monetary issue that acts with a lag from the past in the present, plus future expectations, “said the head of Focus Market. In the case of buying a sweater, in Venezuela 3,000 hours of work are required, and in Argentina 59 hours 55 minutes, while at the other extreme in Ecuador it takes 21 hours 36 minutes and in Chile 19 hours 48 minutes.

“Unfortunately the businessman who planned a lower level of production for the autumn-winter season was not wrong. In the middle of the social restrictions last month, retail sales had a fall of 6.1% in clothing and 5.6% in footwear according to data as of May from the Argentine Chamber of Medium Enterprises (CAME) with respect to April. In turn, if last month’s sales are compared to the same month in 2019 (without a pandemic), sales in clothing fall 27.9% and 33.2% in Footwear, “said Di Pace. The sector has faced a onslaught by illegal sales on public roads with unfair competition that leaves out those who have to sustain the fixed costs of structure by paying their taxes both at an industrial and commercial level, the consultant said.

The new restrictions on circulation, business closings on weekends, the lack of money in families and the caution to spend due to the uncertainty generated by the future of the health crisis, were some of the factors that ended up affecting the commercial activity of the month, which remains far from recovering its pre-pandemic levels, said the CAME in its latest monthly report.

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