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Imanol Martinez (FICE): sustainability is an opportunity for producers in Southern Europe

Jan 13, 2022 Spain
Today we bring you the second part of a conversation with Imanol Martinez, Marketing Director of FICE, the Federation of Spanish Footwear Industries. Learn his views on sustainability and challenges of the footwear industry as we are coming out of the COVID-19 crisis



Sustainability

Sustainability is here to stay. Buyers and consumers are more and more concerned about buying fashion that is sustainable and respectful with the environment.

And I think this is an opportunity for producers in Southern Europe. We ‘ve noticed that clothing and fashion brands with production sites in Asia and other locations are also looking to have more local European producers.

This (sustainability) is a real concern. Of course, now it can be seen as a fashion trend, and is a marketing tool, but I think at the end, there is a real concern especially amongst the younger generations.

I think more consumers will prefer to buy less but with higher quality and value for shoes.


New Shape of Business

My main concern is how many retailers are going to survive (through the crisis) and which brands will be the winners coming out of this situation.

And the digital world, which we had an expectation would evolve in 4-5 years, and it is here right now. Ecommerce is a big revolution for all of us. The numbers are growing. For example, in Spain the growth of ecommerce has doubled. 25% of the shoes sold in Spain are sold through ecommerce. This has increased a lot.

Now, everything is more athletic, more comfort driven, easier to wear, making the situation more difficult for those brands operating in the luxury segment or focused on footwear for events.

We need to work even harder and closer than ever to make business to all of us.

I also see positive signs for local production.


Future Challenges

A challenge for the industry is how the distribution system is changing. For our industry wholesale is the main segment to do business and we need to figure it out what is going to be the scenario within the retail system.

Some of the brands are shifting some of their strategies and going directly to the consumer and are working with consumers and not only with retailers and stores. And this is a big challenge.

Another challenge is all that is related to innovation: we need to increase productivity, increase the investments on technology and we need to reduce costs. We need new technologies, news processes, new lean management techniques in order to have much more efficient factories which produce a good product at the right price.


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