Despite a promising start to the year for the Italian footwear sector in the first quarter, when export income was €3 billion, an increase in value of 21.4%, while shipping 58.7 million pairs, a rise of 11.7% year on year, there were signs of approaching headwinds. These were reported at the Assocalzaturifici Assembly on July 5 in Bologna.
Besides rising input costs apparent to everyone, there were closures of 36 shoe factories from December 2021 to March 2022, plus 83 component manufacturers closed in the same period.
Demand for Italian footwear in the US during the first three months was spectacular, rising by 70%, but this was offset by a decline in Russia of 20% both in terms of volume and value. In Ukraine the fall was steeper reaching 48% in value terms compared to the first three months of 2021.
The worst was yet to come as the conflict in Ukraine intensified in April when, according to Eurostat, exports to Russia fell by 37% and to Ukraine by 81%.
As long as the war drags on, Italian footwear will continue labouring under the weight of uncertainty and not just in Russia and Ukraine, but in other regions as it appears that inflation has taken a grip of the world economy which will prejudice sales internationally.