Judging by the autumn International Exhibition of Shoes MICAM, which was held in 17 - 20 on September 2008 in Milan, in the context of the European economic crisis, Italians have the highest hopes for Russia. And to improve the quality of their shoes. In part, they hope to maintain antidumping duties and postpone production.
Text: Galina Kuznetsova
Russia as the future forward of world trade
The country is on its feet, waking up a sense of national pride. And we must answer this feeling!
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin
Only facts: for the second year in a row, Russia remains in first place in terms of the dynamics of import of Italian shoes. Only opinions: the president of the Association of Italian shoe manufacturers (ANCI) Vito Artioli is sure that Russia is in fourth place in terms of purchases (after France, the UK and Germany) only temporarily, in the future it will come out on top.
The producers confirm the words of their president. Annarita Pilotti of Loriblu said that already on the second day of the exhibition, a record number of visitors was recorded over the past several seasons - with most of the customers from Russia, Lebanon and the Arab countries.
Confirm the growing trend and the mood of buyers. Obviously, economic difficulties have already affected our country, but our entrepreneurs are not going to cut orders like Europeans do. They plan to do a more thorough selection, as well as calculations of profitability and profitability for each brand with which they work.
By the way, judging by the composition of the delegation of buyers organized by the Italian Institute of Foreign Trade (ICE) and ANCI, Italian footwear is sold everywhere: the delegation included store owners from both millionaires - St. Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, Yekaterinburg, Samara, and and from small towns - Syktyvkar, Armavir, Saratov, Nizhny Tagil, Irkutsk and Khabarovsk. Among the buyers were both "veterans" of the shoe business, who have been selling Italian shoes for more than 10 years, and newcomers who have just entered the shoe trade.
Area reached the ceiling
You know, now my long experience in both business and politics has shown that it’s better to abandon superprofits
Area - 74 115 sq. m
Number of participants - 1672
The number of foreign participants - 574
Number of visitors - 41900 people
The number of participants compared to last year increased slightly. And this is consistent with the intentions of the organizers to maintain an acceptable level of service. Otherwise, Vito Artioli joked, each visitor will have to give out a bicycle to make it easier for him to move from the 10 pavilion to the first. Indeed, without good physical fitness 70 thousand square meters. m "master" is difficult. However, given the fact that the exhibition is well structured in terms of both assortment and price segments, serious problems usually do not arise.
Already a year by the end, but there is still no export
Less is better, but better
A traditional international press conference was held with the participation of ICE President Umberto Vattani (Italian Foreign Trade Institute) and ANCI President Vito Artioli. Particular attention was paid to performance indicators in foreign markets. Signor Wattani was brief, he said that to maintain their position in the market is possible only if quality is improved. Vito Artioli said that the footwear industry is still confronting the hurricanes of the crisis, which have been shaking international markets for several months now. “A new positive cycle has not yet begun, but despite numerous financial unrest, the market has not plunged into the five-year nightmare of the crisis that hit the industry in 2001 - 2005,” he explained. - The protracted crisis (record oil price, dollar depreciation to a minimum), a period of weakening American economy, bloated real estate prices, mortgage crisis, inflation due to energy and food prices simply could not slow down the rise, which seems to be would be outlined at the beginning of last year. "
This is also confirmed by the first months of 2008. Data from the Central Statistical Institute of Commercial Exchange ISTAT for the first five months of the year, processed by the ANCI analysis department, show that exports decreased to 107,6 million pairs (6,9 million less compared to the same period last year). By volume, exports fell by 6,6%, while remaining stable in value terms (+ 0,3%), the total amount amounted to 2,9 billion euros. As usual, these figures include both Italian products sold in foreign markets and re-export operations.
“Data on production volume,” continues Vito Artioli, “confirm that it has decreased compared to the first half of last year. Despite this reduction, it is important to remember that at the time of the crisis, real production is more reliable than financial transactions. ”
A sharp drop in the volume of Italian footwear imports (with a moderate reduction in cost) was recorded in Germany (-17%), France (-14,4%) and the UK (-21%). However, a decrease in volume is accompanied by an increase in value - the average price per pair increased by 7,4%.
“Even a drop in US sales,” says Artioli, “is accompanied by an increase in the average price by 14,7%. This means that the number of buyers is declining due to reasons due to American domestic politics. But those who buy do this because they recognize the high value of Italian products, and therefore their willingness to pay a higher price is growing. "These figures reflect the impact of the crisis, but also the enormous ability of Italian companies to respond to critical circumstances, their competitiveness."
Delocalization: not demonizing, but not encouraging
If such a case is really necessary ...
Buyers from Switzerland (+ 13,4%), Spain (+ 5%), Greece (+ 13%) and Eastern European countries increased their orders, among which Russia came first (+ 9,5% in volume, + 21% in value) .
“The good results in Eastern Europe,” continues Artioli, “are explained by different reasons for different markets: in some countries (for example, Poland), these results only partially compensate for the losses received at the beginning of this century. For other countries (for example, Romania and the Czech Republic) we are talking about quantities that have never been achieved before. Probably, the measures to transfer production to this zone, taken by Italian businessmen in recent years, along with other internal factors, have played a positive role. ”
ANCI President believes that the situation in the shoe market suggests that globalization is moving to an evolutionarily new stage. And Italian companies should think about the delocalization of production, however, without encouraging or demonizing it. This question cannot be seen only in black or only in white.
But where to transfer production, the president did not specify. Last year, Italians hoped for Romania, hoping that the decline in production here is not due to a real decrease, but with a new accounting method introduced after Romania joined the EU, but this year the decline continued (-21%), in connection with which Artioli suggested that the competitive advantages associated with lower labor costs are now no longer relevant, and therefore need to be moved to other, more competitive countries. That is, the delocalization of production will occur against the background of the redistribution of competitiveness.
At the same time, for Italians, two key areas of foreign policy will remain - anti-dumping measures and the mandatory use of labels of the origin of shoes.
There can be no isolated response to global challenges
Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France
The redistribution of competitiveness at MICAM was clear and obvious. British companies again reminded of themselves, Japanese and Indian, Brazilian and Spanish deepened and expanded their presence.
British companies, in order to emphasize their unity, organized a special exposition of the British Footwear Gallery at MICAM, where samples of all companies were collected at one stand. And if four years ago six companies entered the British delegation at MICAM, now their number has grown to 90. Marketing Director of the British Shoe Association (BFA) Nicholas Perry-Billings said that the MICAM exhibition is important for them, as consumers look for different styles, while the Internet and globalization make consumers' tastes more and more similar in different countries. From this point of view, MICAM is the best platform for demonstrating British design, which, unlike Italian, is very conservative.
Xavier García Lillo, coordinator of the Spanish national exposition, speaking about the importance of the exhibition, added that MICAM is the most important event for Spanish companies, because the exhibition remains the largest showcase in the European shoe world. As in the previous season, 175 companies take part in the exhibition, although some remained on the wish list. MICAM is also interesting to the Spaniards because Italy is the only market where our orders are growing amid a reduction in orders from two other major customers - Germany and the UK. Lillo considers flexibility to be the competitive advantage of Spanish companies - for each country they are ready to make special collections.
It is clear that MICAM is not only a European showcase.
In September, Japanese shoe companies became special guests - 5 collections of men's and women's footwear brands were exhibited in Pavilion No. 16. There was no particular specificity in shoes - quite European collections. The Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, Naohiro Arimura, accompanying the delegation, said that participation in MICAM is the first step on the road to Europe, so the delegation was formed on the basis of diversity - Japanese exhibitors presented all price segments. “In Japan, sales of Italian shoes now amount to about 40%,” says Arimura, “so we have a good idea of what manual work is and a high level of quality, but it seems to us that we also have something to offer European customers.”
Love your shoes from a young age
We have one course - the right one
The exhibition was accompanied not only by a business, but also by a cultural and educational program. This is logical because education and training remains a central theme for ANCI. This was confirmed by the competition for schoolchildren “The Miraculous Way of the Italian Shoe”, organized by ANCI together with the Ministry of Higher and School Education and Scientific Research. The idea of the project is simple - for schoolchildren and students to better know the shoe industry, they need to stimulate their own interest. And for this it is necessary to turn the process of cracking the granite of science into entertainment. What was done - the younger schoolchildren drew sketches of shoes, the middle school - wrote poems and fairy tales about shoes, the older ones were already preparing more serious projects, for example: "Italian shoes in the world - history, art, science."
The competition is supported not only by the Association of Manufacturers, but also by the Association of Young Entrepreneurs. “You are our future,” ANCI Vice President Franco Ballin said, addressing the participants, “it is up to you to preserve and develop our production traditions, our heritage, which in no case should be lost. Especially in the case of Italian shoes, whose production culture is based on innovation. And the only way to preserve it is to study, study and study again. ”
Summarize. If we talk about the Italian footwear industry, the main directions of its development will be improving quality, extending the period of anti-dumping duties and the introduction of mandatory certification indicating the place of production of shoes. At the same time, Italian shoe makers expect that the volume of purchases from their Russian customers will increase annually. The Italians are now considering the possibility of partial transfer of production, while not forgetting to educate the young generation in the style of "honor your shoes as a national treasure."
If we talk about the Italian exhibition, then from the extensive development path MICAM moves to an intensive one: by limiting the area, the directorate is going to focus on the service for exhibitors and visitors. Secondly, in order to maintain the status of one of the world's largest shoe exhibitions, the directorate is intensifying its work with national expositions - now companies from three main shoe-producing regions - Europe, Asia and South America - are already represented at the exhibition.
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