World Footwear

Trade

Cleto Sagripanti, Assocalzaturifici’s President, live on World Footwear

Mar 6, 2015 Italy
Cleto Sagripanti, Assocalzaturifici’s President, live on World Footwear
An entrepreneur and a business man with extensive experience in the shoe industry, Mr Sagripanti represents the largest European footwear producer
During the last edition of theMICAMN, the World Footwear team spoke to Assocalzaturifici’s President about his expectations for the Italian footwear industry, the current state at the footwear trade fairs and the recently announced International Footwear Forum.

Italian footwear industry
Official numbers for the international trade figures in 2014 are not available yet for Italy. The Italian Association will make the numbers public on the 13th of March after the Shoe Report is presented to the Italian Parliament.
Regardless of the official announcement of the final numbers, 2014 was a challenging year for the European footwear industry and the political instability in Russia and in the CIS markets much contributed to that, impacting the Italian performance as well. Mr Sagripanti admits he had been worried with the instability in the region, but the most recent political developments gave him some reassurance of future improvements. It is his belief “that going forward, step by step, the high tension might decrease and the situation will be better”. Good news for the footwear industry as these are important markets for the Italian exporters.
Despite the difficulties felt by the Italian industry in 2014, Mr Sagripanti feels confident about the signs given by the markets: “We are seeing good signs in the domestic Italian market. We are increasing exports to France and the United States. If on top of this, Russia gives us good signs, (2015) should be a good year, after seven years of crisis. I’m positive”.

Trade fairs
Footwear trade fairs are anticipating the dates of their shows, which attracted strong reactions from different players of the industry. A natural reaction, as Mr Sangripanti believes all changes take time to be accepted, but the impression about the acceptance of the new formats is good: “During theMICAM no one talked to me about the dates, so that is a good sign, because usually if something is not good people mention that to me”. However, there is always room to adapt and change again: “We are convinced these are good dates. But if there is a possibility to have a ten days fashion week in Milan, having together fashion shows and theMICAM, Mipel and Mifur, maybe we can change the dates again. For now we are happy with the dates”.
While the trade fairs are anticipating their dates, and experiencing new formats, we are witnessing the appearance of several new fairs in Europe, mainly smaller and regional fairs. Cleto Sagripantin believes the trade fairs are a key instrument for SMEs, as a vehicle for companies “to contact the customers and show them the collections without facing a high cost”.  With theMICAM being the most important exhibition, he feels there is room for other smaller exhibitions which might even work as a test experience for companies to evaluate their participation in such events before venturing in more international fairs, such as theMICAM: “From this perspective, we cannot have only theMICAM in Europe. Other fairs are important”.
theMicam Shangai is an important achievement for the Italian entrepreneur and his Association, who, three years ago, was repeatedly warned about the difficulties of organizing a trade fair like theMICAM Shangai in China, a demanding and unknown market. However, the balance is positive and Mr Sagripanti is satisfied with the results: “Three years have passed since the launch of the event, and after massive investment (including reputational one) the Italian footwear industry is at the centre of the Italian Fashion System together with apparel and clothes; we have our pavilion inside Chic. It is our pavilion and we managed it and the name of it is MICAM”.
theMICAM in the world project is focused on Shangai for now. New York, Moscow and any other new locations will have to be analysed with extreme precaution. The US, for example, is a market “as demanding” as China. It is important to test it first, and that’s why a small group of Italian companies is attending the Sole Commerce trade show for now. After that, “together with the clothing industry and the Italian Trade Commission” it will have to be analised “if next year is the moment to invest and then have theMICAM New York or an Italian fashion system platform".

International Footwear Forum

During the last World Footwear Congress held in Léon, Jean Pierre Renaudin, announced the intention to create an International Footwear Forum, an event aimed at reinforcing the dialogue and commitment between worldwide footwear associations and confederations. An announcement hugely welcomed by most of the industry, which, according to Mr Sagripanti, has created huge expectations. This can be a risk, in his view, however the benefits of having everyone gathered are higher: “it is important to improve the relations between everyone, because when the relation is good you can talk to people about real problems, such as antidumping, price of raw materials, tax, duties, etc.”. This takes special importance for someone who has a dream of living in a tax free world.

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