The Italian Footwear Association (Assocalzaturifici) spoke recently about their worries surrounding the development of the Italian footwear industry. In particular, they also voiced their concern over the current states of instability in certain parts of the world, particularly Russia where European footwear exports overall have declined by almost 14%.
In a recent press release, Assocalzaturifici chairman, Cleto Sagripani, noted that: “Recent international trade shows have confirmed that the footwear sector is going through a time of great difficulty. This is why we're asking the government not to abandon us, but to offer us concrete support at this critical time for businesses in our sector, starting with an essential cut in regional production tax and allocation of funds to research and development. These are measures that can really give a boost to enterprises suffering from uncertainty on world markets, particularly Russia.”
Speaking about the Russian market, Mr Sagripani added: “We are working on a programme for supporting incoming enterprises and developing new initiatives to promote Obuv’ Mir Koži, a historic event in our industry, to support the Russian market, but we can't do it alone: the government should not sit by idle, but support our international promotional efforts, because we're convinced that investing more resources is the best way out of this serious impasse."
According to Assocalzaturifici, the Russian and former Soviet republic markets are of great strategic economic and commercial importance for the Italian footwear industry but that all the instability in the region had resulted in an adverse impact on the market in recent months.
Ronny Bigioni, coordinator of Assocalzaturifici’s Russian team, was quick to point out that the drop in the number of orders from the region was not due to a failure of Italian products to attract consumers, but rather down to the decreased purchasing power and increased prudence of the Russian buyers. “This is why we continue to be committed to promoting our industry, especially in this area. We intended to expand the event, traditionally a leading trade fair and a key event for the entire area, by continuing to work in close harmony with the Italian Trade Agency,” added Mr Bigioni in the same press release.
Highlighting the negative market impact the political and economic issues in Russia have had, sources at Assocalzaturifici noted that Italian footwear exports to Russia dropped in volume by 18.4% in the first half of the 2014 financial year.