The “Sampedro” label goes back to the 20s, when the company opened its doors. The bed linen specialist, which combines tablecloths and terry, is already preparing the celebrations for its 2020th anniversary, through a renovation of the entire internal structure of the factory. "Four years ago we started a strategic investment plan [which extends] until the end of 2021", because "in XNUMX we will be one hundred years old and we want to work in the old factory with the name and new inside", confirms Simão Gomes, chairman of the board administration, to Portugal Têxtil.
The investment plan, which accounts for 15 million euros, crossed "all productive areas", since its creation, to the computer and energy sectors, he notes. In the area of energy, for example, Simão Gomes highlights the implementation of photovoltaic panels and recovery systems to “reduce consumption” and “contribute to [reducing our] ecological footprint”. On the productive side, to the weaving, dyeing (piece, yarn and continuous) processes, printing, finishing and confection, the company adds this year the digital printing, making up a global production capacity of 1,5 million kilos.
“We need a company that is sustainable for the new and the future. And that it is recognized for making quality home textiles», argues Simão Gomes. With a workforce of 160 workers, the president of the administration admits, however, that «in a company we can never say that everything is invested, because, nowadays, technologies are very disruptive». At least “the bulk [of the investment] is done”, he assures.
Persistence brings good results
Despite having spent the last four years thinking about the future, Sampedro has lived a troubled present. From an export tax of 82%, the largest share is represented by the United Kingdom, which, throughout 2019, raised serious trade constraints due to Brexit. "It would be unconscious if I wasn't [concerned about Brexit]," confesses the executive.
"Given the weak demand that there was in our natural market, which is Europe, we had to insist on the USA and make the maximum effort to recover lost sales", he explains. The North American market ranks second in Sampedro's list of export destinations, with a share of 11%, followed by Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Netherlands, Canada and France. "Fortunately", in the words of Simão Gomes, when demand from Europe decreased in 2019, the company was able to increase sales to the US, which "allowed us to close the year with a growth of 2%", he emphasizes.
The turnover of 15,5 million euros is a reflection of the «a lot of effort» invested in the North American market, because «it was our persistence that led to growth [in sales] precisely when we needed it most» , argues the president of the administration.
Now, the next step is to reach South Korea and Japan. «We have to make selective bets because an SME cannot be all over the world at the same time» and «we believe that there is a range of potential to sell our items to these destinations”, he stresses.
For this year, the expectation is to grow slightly, between 1% to 2%. “Everyone says 2020 won't be very good”, but “[I'm] in some spirits”, assumes Simão Gomes. «It is true that the market is not very good for these claims, but, as it was like this last year and we managed to [obtain growth], we will continue to struggle». In the heart of this strategy, there may be the definition of a plan to revitalize its own brand, which was once «very well known» in the Iberian Peninsula, he recalls.