António Moreira Gonçalves
Masks, gowns, scrubs and head covers are the most recent additions to the catalogue of the Goucam group, which, in the meantime, is focused on returning to its core business: fashion manufacturing for international brands. Despite the fierce impact of Covid-19 in their activity, which will be felt throughout the end of the year at least, the group is already taking in its first post-confinement orders, and recalled part of their workforce that had been furloughed. The Inditex group is still ordering.
“At this moment, one of our factories is dedicated to jacket manufacturing, some people are still furloughed and another part is producing personal protection equipment”, explains José Carlos Castanheira, CEO of the Goucam group, owner of four industrial units specialized in suit manufacturing, both for men’s and women’s, and employs 400 people.
“In 2009, we reached 18 million euro in sales volume, and we were growing steadily. In January and February we were growing above 20%”, he says. A reality turned upside down due to the pandemic.
The production of protective gear came as a solution to bring part of its workforce back to work. In their new Protect+ line, the company features masks certified for five washing cycles, head shields and a set made of scrubs, boot and head covers that also carry the CITEVE seal of guarantee. Products originally meant for the Portuguese market, but that are also being sold to the UK and Germany.
Meanwhile, the CEO of the group opts to face this market as something ephemeral. “The demand is not as strong as it was in the first weeks”, he comments, while maintaining the focus on returning to fashion. Having 90% of their production sold abroad – Spain is the main market, followed by the Nordic countries, France and the US –, José Carlos Castanheira has witnessed the first signs of recovery, highlighted by the Inditex group: “they kept and honoured their commitments, and they reactivated their orders as soon as they could. We are even negotiating new orders”, he states.