Italian firms urged to take ‘long-term view’
According to Italian footwear manufacturers’ association Assocalzaturifici, exports of Italian-made shoes during 2013 grew modestly (3.3 per cent in value to €7.4 billion and 1.8 per cent in volume to 202 million pairs), but domestic consumption collapsed.
Assocalzaturifici President, Cleto Sagripanti, has warned that shoemakers in Italy need to set longer-term strategies with adequate planning, and added that in his view, the time for improvisation – if it ever worked – is definitely over.
“We need to be aware that in non-EU markets, and especially in emerging markets, the situation can change rapidly,” said Mr Sagripanti. “It is not only political instability that can push an entire market into chaos, but also fluctuations in the exchange rate, which nowadays are increasingly driven by financial phenomena rather than by macroeconomic adjustments related to the real economy.
Mr Sagripanti stressed that it is advisable for Italian manufacturers to look to distant markets, but without losing sight of the fact that these can be very volatile and, thus, unstable. He added that the Russian market has been an outlet for Italian footwear for some time, but such factors as the exchange rate could threaten Italian firms’ competitiveness.
This article was originally published on page 2 of the May 2014 issue of SATRA Bulletin.