Vulcabras' results for the first half were mixed. Operating revenues declined by 3.1 percent to R$891.7 million (€336.2m-$442.0m), with a drop of 9.4 percent in domestic sales to R$664.7 million (€250.7m-$329.5m), but the total number of pairs sold by the Brazilian company rose by 3.5 percent to 18.0 million. Total sales of athletic shoes rose to 9.4 million from 9.2 million in the year-ago period.

The gross margin improved to 23.9 percent from 15.5 percent in spite of a provision of R$9 million (€3.4m-$4.5m) for obsolete inventories of raw materials and components.

The Ebit margin continued to be negative, but the operating loss improved to 6.6 percent of sales from 11.5 percent in the first half of 2011, thanks in part to lower operating expenses. Advertising expenses were equal to 14.2 percent of gross operating revenues in the first half, but the budget was reduced to 12.8 percent of sales in the second quarter.

The results before amortization (Ebitda) showed a small positive margin of 0.9 percent against a negative margin of 4.6 percent, but after paying higher interest charges on its debt, Vulcabras still posted a net loss of R$182.8 million (€68.9m-$90.6m) for the period, widening the R$111.9 million loss of the first half of 2011.

Vulcabras owns the Olympikus brand and has a contract for Reebok in Brazil and two other Latin American countries. The group's deliveries of sports shoes in the domestic market rose by 8.3 percent to 7.2 million pairs, but their average price declined by 17.2 percent to R$63.42 (€23.90-$31.40) per pair, leading to a drop in their value to R$458.0 million (€172.8m-$227.0m) for the six-month period. Here again, the second quarter recorded a sales increase of 25.9 percent in terms of volume.

The group's sales of sandals, boots and other women's shoes in the domestic market, notably under the Azaleia and Dijean brand names, went up by 1.4 percent in volume to 6.9 million pairs, although their average price declined by 3.7 percent. Volumes were up by 20.8 percent in the second quarter, however.

Meanwhile, the management of Vulcabras continues to work on a new business plan following the resignation on July 30 of its chief executive, Milton Cardoso, and the appointment of a new management consultant, Galeazzi & Associados (more in Shoe Intelligence).