27 September 2023

China proves a lifebuoy for Italy’s shoe brands

The Italian footwear industry announced record turnover for the first five months of year, with higher prices meaning turnover increased 7% and export values increased 10%, writes Footwearbiz.

However, volumes were down: -6.8% for exports and -5.7% for production, according to the ISTAT industrial production index.

Giovanna Ceolini, chair of manufacturers association Assocalzaturifici, said: “The widely expected slowdown finally materialised in the second quarter of the year.

“The strong rebound of 2021 – after the slump caused by the lockdowns – and the continuation of recovery during 2022 – albeit at an understandably slower pace, as business levels returned to normal – were followed by a marked deceleration, after a promising start to 2023 for most economic variables.

“All the main export destinations recorded increases in value in the first five months. The only exceptions were Switzerland, the UK and Canada. Switzerland is a traditional logistics hub, the country experienced a significant setback, probably due to different distribution strategies adopted by luxury brands, which avoid transiting through the Swiss warehouses.

“Despite the recent concerns over the slowdown in the national economy, very encouraging signs have come so far from China (+20.4% in volume and +43.4% in value), where the average price – by far the highest among the main outlet markets for Italian footwear – clearly shows that these figures are linked above all to the performance of the large luxury brands, in a market that is not easy to penetrate for companies with their own brand.”

Expectations remain cautious for the second half of the year, given the general climate of uncertainty and the weakness of many economies worldwide. On average, for the first time since the post-pandemic recovery, operators expect turnover in the third quarter to be down on the same period last year (-2.8%), according to Assocalzaturifici.

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