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THE SHOE DISTRICT
Roma - (Adnkronos Multimedia) - A density of manufacturing that is almost unique on the Italian scene, comprising more than three thousand small and very small enterprises, usually artisans, employing more than 20 thousand employees and producing top-quality shoes, with annual sales exceeding one billion euro and exports reaching 56 percent. All located in the narrow valleys in the Marches between the provinces of Macerata and Ascoli Piceno in a handful of 36 small towns. This is the picture of the Fermano-Maceratese industrial district for shoes, one of the Italian manufacturing enterprises of major interest for the high level of productive integration and for the quality of work achieved.
The greater part of production in the district is aimed at a product for the medium-to-high market band, and is destined for women. 93 percent of the firms and 87 percent of employees are concentrated in areas embracing 36 towns: Altidona, Belmonte Piceno, Campofilone, Carassai, Cupra Marittima, Falerone, Fermo, Fracavilla d'Ete, Grottazzolina, Lapedona, Magliano di Tenna, Massa Fermana, Massignano, Monsampietro, Morico, Montappone, Monte Giberto, Monte Rinaldo, Monte S. Pietrangeli, Monte Urano, Monte Vidon Combatte, Monte Vidon Corrado, Montefiore dell'Aso, Montegiorgio, Montegranaro, Monteleone di Fermo, Montottone, Ortezzano, Pedaso, Petritoli, Ponzano di Fermo, Porto S. Giorgio. Porto S. Elpidio, Rapagnano, S. Elpidio a mare, Servigliano, Torre S. Patrizio. The area extends over a surface of 684 square kilometres and counts 162.090 residents, with a population density of 237 people per square kilometre. The shoe industry in this area comprises 3.087 firms, 3.292 local units and 20.920 employees.
There are three weak points in this district. The first is related to the difficulty in finding trained and qualified workers in the area, the costs for which are considerably higher than those for some shoe production abroad, particular in Asia. Secondly, the high cost of the production infrastructures and of raw materials that also in this case creates problems of competition compared with numerous Asian competitors. Finally, the difficulties relating to the further development of exports, typical of a system of small and very small firms of artisans that meet with more than a few obstacles in promoting their goods on foreign markets.
However, the strong points of this district appear to be very solid: great productive flexibility, the high quality of raw materials used, manufacturing skills, technical-productive capacities and creativity in the design phases. And it is the quality of the end product, well-recognised and indisputable at world level, which renders this industrial district widely competitive, despite the difficult crisis that the sector has been experiencing for some years.
On the other hand, the shoe sector plays a part of huge relevance in the productive fabric of the area concerned between Macerata and Ascoli Piceno. The image itself of the province of Ascoli Piceno, in Italy and the world, is represented by shoes, the strong point of local economy. In fact, around half of the wealth produced in the area relates to this sector. And more than 50 percent of workers in this industrial sector work in the shoe industry, in firms which in 90 percent of cases, have less than five employees. Therefore it represents a type of very close-knit productive network that continues to impact on some important international markets as a benchmark for total quality. 50 percent of the total exports for firms in the province of Ascoli Piceno, in fact, consist in shoes, selling above all to Germany, France and the United States of America.
Location: Fermano - Macerate
Specialised production: Women's shoes
Number of towns: 36
Area: 684 km2
Population: 162.090 i
Number of firms: 3.329
Export sales quota: 56 percent