World Footwear

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Italy talks about tentative recovery for exports in the first quarter

Jun 30, 2021 Italy
Italy talks about tentative recovery for exports in the first quarter
According to data by Confindustria Moda Research Centre for Assocalzaturifici. The footwear industry in Italy raised exports, in value terms, by 3% in the first quarter of the current year. These are still quite below pre-COVID levels, the Italian Association underlines
Assocalzaturifici talks about "tentative signs of a resurgence in the first quarter 2021 for the footwear industry", which are driven by exports performance with a 0.3% increase in quantity and 3% in value. However, caution is still recommended as pre-covid levels remain "out of grasp". According to the latest figures from the Confindustria Moda Research Centre for Assocalzaturifici, after the unprecedented crashes in 2020, which saw the loss of about 1/4 in turnover and national production, the gradual improvement in the epidemiological situation and the resulting easing of covid restrictions in Italy and many other countries, has driven a return to slightly less negative business levels in early 2021 compared to the previous quarters, but the figures remain significantly below par.

The recovery is still a long way off but the weakening of the severity of the pandemic means we can see some light at the end of the tunnel", started by saying Siro Badon, Chair of Assocalzaturifici. "On the foreign front the rebound in March was at least sufficient to bring results for the quarter back to early 2020 levels, but the same cannot be said about the Italian market, where the closure of stores in shopping centres on weekends - that was only revoked last May - caused a further reduction in household consumption compared to the first 3 months of 2020. A recovery will take some time and there will be hefty consequences in terms of selection amongst companies and employment trends. In particular, production in the first quarter is down -6.4% compared to January-March 2020 and by about -30% from the same period in 2019, prior to the start of the pandemic. In the Italian market, purchases are down -3.5% in quantity and -6.9% in terms of expenditure, with a shortfall of more than -20% on 2019 levels”, Mr. Badon concludes. 

In terms of exports, there were increased flows towards Switzerland (+13% in quantity) and France (+8% in quantity), both of which are linked to outsourced production for international luxury brands, while outside Europe the increase in China (+44.4% in volume and +74.8% in value compared to the first 3 months of 2020), particularly in the higher end of the market (the average price towards this market increased by 21%) especially favoured leading fashion brands. Current exports to China are well above pre-Covid levels in 2019 (+11.2% in volume and +24% in value).

The balance of trade for the first three months shows a surplus of 1.13 billion euro (+11.2%), although it is still -4.3% less than it was two years ago.

In terms of the companies demographics, at the end of March there were 4.097 active footwear manufacturers in Italy, across both industrial and craft sectors (55 less than in December 2020, which corresponds to -1.3%) and a workforce of 71.644 (-238 or 0.3% less). When component manufacturers areconsidered, the fall compared to the final balance for 2020 is even more marked: -123 enterprises and -587 employees. According to the Italian Footwear Association, "these figures do raise some concern for the stability of employment in coming months, especially when the ban on dismissals is lifted".

Image credits: Christopher Czermak on Unsplash

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