The mood of shoe makers at the Italian exhibition Expo Riva Schuh, which was held in Riva del Garda in early June, ranged from deep pessimism to moderate optimism. Optimism won.
Giordano Gironacci, president of the Italian company Melania, was cautiously optimistic: “The market is definitely growing. However, our regular customers keep orders at the level of last year. "
“Retailers are very scrupulous about ordering,” says Luca De Pietri, owner of Italy's Pietri Srl. "Some of them are experiencing liquidity problems." De Pietri, whose customers are about 250 entrepreneurs, in some cases noted a drop in orders of up to 40%.
Paulo Gonçalves, president of the Portuguese retailer Egoista, added that the firm has reduced inventories by 30% compared to last year. To add a touch of positive, Goncalves, whose firm operates 11 stores in Portugal, noted that the economic downturn has led to lower rents in shopping centers. “If you have the opportunity to invest now, you should definitely do it,” he explained, adding that, according to his calculations, the crisis should end by the end of the 2010 year.
The opinions of other operators were more positive. “We are seeing a slight decrease in orders, although they have not decreased as much as we expected, while the number of customers at the exhibition in Riva del Garda has remained the same,” said Francois Leguerinel, export manager of the French group Royer .
The Royer Group, which owns the Kickers, Mod8 and Charles Jourdan brands, as well as the production licenses of Hello Kitty, Vuarnet, Naf Naf and Disney, known for its aggressive takeover strategy, announced at an Italian show that it had entered into an agreement with the Spanish brand owner Inditex Zara, and another European C&A giant.
Gianluca Chessa, sales manager for the Italian company Edilsport SpA, announced the acquisition of new production licenses. In Riva del Garda, they presented a new line of men's sports shoes Carrera. “The shoe sector, especially in Italy, has already undergone a period of serious restructuring,” Chessa says, “and those who remain are ready for new discoveries and conquests when the economy begins to rise.”
Alessandro Borelli, purchasing director of women's shoes at Canadian company Browns, shared his recipe for experiencing a recession: “You should keep your customers constantly amazed at your new ideas. If you can do this, you will be fine. ”
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