World Footwear

Trade

Our industry will continue to suffer in the coming years

Nov 25, 2016 France
Our industry will continue to suffer in the coming years
The words are from Claude Paquin, Presidente of the FFC, elected earlier in the year and succeeding Jean-Pierre Renaudin, who presided over the professional organization over an 8 years' period
Mr. Paquin has extensive experience in Finance, having graduated with an MBA from the Harvard Business School. He has had several roles at Société Générale, Midland Bank and Crédit Lyonnais (overseeing the management of its industrial portfolio). Before he joined the FFC (French Footwear Federation), Mr. Paquin was the Chairman of footwear brand JB MARTIN.

Reflecting on the main challenges while heading the FFC, Mr. Paquin commented: “at the FFC we will have to help our members in the different fields impacting their activity, such as technology, social affairs and international developments. That is key in our activity as the association representing the sector and we will have to focus on all those different issues”.

According to the World Footwear Yearbook, in 2015, France was the 5th largest importer of footwear and the country with the 9th largest consumption of shoes. This makes France one of the main players in the industry, but last year the country’s imports declined slightly, which is a direct reflection of the internal market according to Mr Paquin. And although exports are performing well, the FFC President is not very optimistic about the coming years: “Imports are directly impacted by the French domestic market. Our market is going through a very difficult time: French are spending less on cloth and shoes, climate has not helped (mild winter, rainy summers) and the political and international context is not good. However French export of shoes are doing well. Overall our industry is suffering and will continue to surfer in the coming years”.

When questioned about the challenges for the coming years, Mr. Paquin has elected social responsibility, sustainability, consumption, and the online channels as the main issues which will impact the performance of the industry. Mr. Paquin believes that, in this context of a frenzy competition, European players will continue to lose ground both in term of production and consumption, and as such the strategy for the European companies to face the growing challenges in an ever changing business environment is clear: “The future is quality, quality, quality; and branding, branding, branding.”

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