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ITALIAN FOOTWEAR AT CONSUMEXPO 2008 AIMS TO CONSOLIDATE GROWTH IN THE RUSSIAN MARKET
It is with a confident mood, thanks to the upswing in sales, that the Italian footwear industry is about to take part in the next edition of Consumexpo in Moscow. The fair is one of the principal opportunities to test Russian consumers‚Äô sentiments and the latest trends in the consumer goods market in Russia. This year the exhibition ‚Äď which targets individual consumers as well as industry experts ‚Äď will take place in the Zao Expocentr area from 16-20th January 2008.
The Italian Trade Commission (ICE) has again for 2008 organised an official delegation of firms from the footwear and leather sectors, confident that the event continues to be an unmissable opportunity to approach the Russian market. The fair, which in 2008 will reach its 20th edition, is divided into specific sectors: leather goods and shoes, clothing and sportswear, household products, furnishings, interior decoration, gifts, designer products, perfumes and cosmetics.
Italian footwear firms are conquering an increasing share of the market in Russia: according to the report of the Italian trade association of the footwear industry (www.anci-calzature.com/?lingua=en), in the first five months of 2007 exports jumped by over 30% and Russia has become the fourth export market in terms of value for Italian producers. More precisely, Italy exported 3,483,000 pairs of shoes (+32.1%) worth 203 million euros (+34.9%). While the volume of exports is still low ‚Äď lower than in Austria or Switzerland, for example ‚Äď the high margins from sales to Russia indicate that Italian firms have occupied the higher end of the market, in order to avoid competition from low cost producers.
This re-positioning strategy in a market where consumers with high disposable incomes are set to steadily increase in the next few years, is only one of the factors that led to an upswing in the Italian footwear industry in the first half of the year. The figures on export volumes, trading activities and prices indicate that a recovery has taken place in several important foreign markets: while the volume of exports remained more or less stable (+0.4%), its value increased by 8.3%. Some difficulties remain in some established markets (Germany and the US), but the positive signals from Russia show that the geographical diversification of exports is starting to pay its dividends.
Italy is the leading producer of shoes in the EU and the sixth largest in the world, while being the fourth largest exporter on a global scale. With 6,657 firms and trade balance permanently in the black, footwear represents one of the most important sectors in the Italian economy in terms of size and quality, and is one of the pillars of the fashion industry.