World Footwear


Footwear back in business in Europe

May 12, 2020 Coronavirus - Covid19
Footwear back in business in Europe
As European countries face the different stages of the sanitary crisis, they are also working on the re-opening of the economies. Today we bring you updates from Italy, Spain, Germany, Belgium, France and Poland


After weeks of tragic reports of the Italian situation the numbers of new infections and fatalities started to decline. Italy has been under restrictive movement measures for the last few weeks, starting with retail closures and later with all non-essential activities, which made the footwear industry stop. After the total lockdown on the footwear supply chain imposed by the authorities, “our companies are gradually getting restarted. Unlike other companies in the textile sector which were allowed to stay open to convert some production lines, we were at a complete standstill”, tells us Tommaso Cancellara, General Manager of Assocalzaturifici, the Italian Footwear Association. Footwear retail in Italy is still waiting authorisation for re-opening.

Assocalzaturifici says the impact of Covid-19 on the market will be considerable. A survey carried out by the Italian Association has showed that companies suffered significant losses in the first quarter of the year, both in terms of turnover (-38.4%) and orders and (-46.2%). “It’s now time to get started again, in the hope that our country’s institutions will sustain our industry ... Even if they have been at a standstill, all companies want to be able to start off again at exactly the same speed. Not surprisingly, a survey carried out by International Footwear Fair Micam, on the needs of the industry at this difficult time, showed that a large number of companies (75% of those surveyed) consider this event to be unmissable”, Tommaso Cancellara concluded.


Spain continues to be on the list of the most impacted countries with the sanitary crisis, but the daily numbers are declining allowing some alleviation of the restrictive measures. A recently held Council of Ministers approved a "Plan of de-escalation", which establishes a “gradual, asymmetric and adaptive transition, in a coordinated manner with the regions”, tells us FICE, the Federation of Spanish Footwear Industries.

Regarding the staggered measures in this Plan, 4 phases are presented. Phase 0 contemplates the opening by prior appointment for shops (<400sqm). Phase I includes the generalized opening of shops (<400sqm) that are not malls or shopping centres, with limitation of capacity of the shops to 30%, minimum distance between customers of 2 meters, and protection measures. When the municipalities allow it, open-air commerce may be opened with a limitation of 25% of the stalls. Phase II anticipates the opening of malls and shopping centres with capacity limited to 40%, the minimum distance between clients of 2 meters and protection measures. The limitation of outdoor trade becomes one third of the usual stalls. In Phase III the ban on the use of common areas and recreational areas of shopping centres is lifted. The limit on the capacity is increased to 50%. The safety distance is kept at 2 meters along with the rest of the protection guidelines. Outdoor markets can increase their activity up to 50% of the stalls or an increase in the surface that allows a similar distance between stalls, according to the criteria of the municipalities.

The Ministry of Health together with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism have also published a "Protocol and guide of good practices aimed at commercial activity", where one can underline: informative signalling for stores; social distancing; queuing outside when maximum capacity is reached; offer of disposable gloves for clients at the entrance, after which they need to use disinfectant hydrogel. For footwear it is recommended to have disposable socks or plastic bags for trying on the products, and shoes tried and not bought should be cleaned.


In the last few weeks stores selling food were the ones allowed to continue trading. Now, since yesterday (11th May), stores selling other products were authorised to reopen, which means fashion shops are operational. The authorities have decided on extra measures to fight the virus diffusion: consumers are asked to wear masks when getting inside the stores, to wash hands with an available hygienic gel and respect a minimum 1.5 meters of distancing. Smaller shops will have to indicate the maximum number of people who can be inside the shop on a given time, and there will be a queueing system outside if the shop is full.


The Polish Government has decided to let reopen the shopping malls for most of the activities regarding regular shops with the exception for the time being restaurants, barbers, beauty salons and fitness clubs starting from last Monday. As the Polish Chamber of Shoe and Leather Industry (PIPS) tells the World smaller shops were never ordered to close, but a significant number has opted to close given the low affluence of business. As a result, “since the 4th of May all the footwear retail network has been allowed to reopen”. The country’s retail has adopted several security measures such as: “maximum number of customers, obligatory use of face masks and disposable gloves. Also, in common areas there is a rule of minimum 2 meters distance between customers and a limited number of persons in the elevators”. Already analysing the re-opening of retail in the country PIPS said that many retailers have used a strategy to kick off sales with “significant price reductions”; notwithstanding the first week “has been rather quiet”.


Small shops in Germany are open since the 20th or the 27th of April, with the regulations for the functioning depending on the different States. The usage of community masks inside the shops in on the rules.

Last week, the HDS/L and buying groups SABU and ANWR issued a joint declaration recommending postponing the season timings in footwear and leather goods sector to help minimise the impact of Covid-19 closures. In the joint declaration the 3 entities recalled that the closure of stores took place as the season was starting. Especifically, they have announced that the selling period for footwear and leather goods of the 2020 spring/summer season is extended by four weeks and the delivery of footwear and leather goods for the 2020/21 fall/winter season will also take place four weeks later. Thus, the selling period of the fall/winter collections is likewise pushed back by a month. The later invoicing ensures the significant improvement of the liquidity situation in retail for the 2020/21 fall/winter season. The postponement of possibly already confirmed delivery deadlines must be individually discussed between supplier and retailer. This new seasonal timing pushed back by a month will also be adopted like this for the subsequent season. (Read all about HERE)


Retail, including shoe stores, received the green light to open from this week onwards. However, with many shops closed on Monday it is too early to understand the reaction on the consumer side. The precaution measures to be put in place may be different from one store to another but they mainly refer to: limited number of consumers inside the store; social distancing when queuing; availability of hydroalcoholic gel at the entrance of the shops; and staff wearing  masks. On top of that some stores have implemented additional measures such as the extension of the opening hours, the possibility to set appointments and the development of click & collect options. Shopping centers (40 000 square metre), which includes the department stores, remain closed.