Italian shoe industry down for 2012
The Italian shoe industry is in trouble. Figures published during TheMicam, the international footwear exhibition held March 3 to 6 in Milan, indicate that the industry ended 2012 on a down note, despite its good results after the financial crisis in 2010/2011. For 2012, shoe production shrank 1.4% in value or 7.1 billion euros and 4.1% in volume, according to estimates by the National Association of Italian Footwear Manufacturers (ANCI), based on a survey of its members.
“The first half of 2012 got off to a good start in the wake of a positive 2011. In contrast, the second semester recorded a sharp decline in domestic demand. For 2013, we are very cautious,” said Cleto Sagripanti, the president of ANCI and TheMicam trade show.
“The recessionary phase in Italy has had an impact on households’ disposable incomes, on consumer confidence and purchases, thus interfering with the positive rebound of the past two years. Besides the contraction in national consumption, there were sometimes very sudden market drops in the European Union, which represent 54% of international sales for the Italian shoe industry,” said the ANCI in a statement.
Last year, 199.1 million pairs of shoes were produced in Italy versus 207.6 million in 2011. Total sales are expected to reach 7.11 billion euros in 2012 compared to 7.21 billion the previous year. The number of active companies dropped to 5,356, or 250 entities less than in 2011, according to ANCI estimates.
Based on ANCI projections calculated from data provided by the Italian Institute of Statistics ISTAT, 2012 exports in value are expected to grow by 2.8%, bringing total foreign sales to more than 7.6 billion euros. But the statistics also include Italian brands and not just manufacturers. In terms of volume, sales are expected to decline by 6.2% to a total of 214.8 million pairs of shoes. Italian manufacturers had especially strong sales in Russia (+14.7% in value, up 12% by volume) and Asia (+23% in value, up 2.6% in volume).
Stand-outs in Asia were the significant increases in Japan (+17%) and China and Hong Kong (up 27.6%), which came in as the number seven market for Italian shoes and whose sales have doubled in 4 years.
However, the European Union is the only geographical market to register a decline in the value of sales compared to 2011 (-4.9%). Significant decreases were recorded in Germany (-8.5%) and other European countries (-9.2% in the Netherlands and Austria, -12% in Poland, -15% in Spain, -32% in Greece). The only exceptions were France (+2.5%) and the United Kingdom (+4.2%).
“The absence of government in Italy is a problem, not only for markets but also for companies, particularly those in the footwear industry who have been waiting for effective responses for years. For two-thirds of businesses, taxes weigh on their operating and labor costs. If corporate taxes could be reduced, we would be much more competitive and bring back production in Italy that would be effective abroad going forward. We also need help in creating tax exemptions and in providing access to credit and doing business internationally. These measures are now a matter of survival for many of our entrepreneurs,” said the president of ANCI.
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