Assocalzaturifici - Trade Association for Italian Shoemakers (Z1313)
A snapshot of the current state of the industry emerging from a survey of the first nine months of 2019 conducted by the Confindustria Moda Research Centre for Assocalzaturifici


It has been a year of ups and downs for the Italian footwear industry: 2019 saw a drop in production (-2.9% by quantity over the first nine months of the previous year) and household purchases (-3.3% by quantity), while exports performed well (+6.7% by value). These are the most significant figures to emerge from a note on economic trends in the first nine months of 2019 prepared by the Confindustria Moda Research Centre for Assocalzaturifici.

The report reveals the widening gap between the performance of the big brand names and that of the small enterprises producing shoes under their own trademarks, which form the backbone of the country’s footwear-making districts: more than half of the sample surveyed reported lower levels of production in the first nine months of this year than in the same period last year (-2.9% average by volume, but with a much more marked drop in production among smaller businesses).

“The international success of Italian shoes, confirming the appeal of Italian fashions on world markets, has been rescaled by shrinkage in volumes, translating into a drop in production and employment,” explains Assocalzaturifici Chair Siro Badon. “At this time of low domestic demand, we ought to be patriotic and support Italian footwear makers by buying more Italian shoes. The whole world envies us for the creations of our small shoemaking businesses, but we often underestimate their worth, carried away by our preference for international fashions. The footwear industry needs a new emphasis on youth and innovation. The industry needs to invest in vocational training for the workers of the future, because our companies are going through a hard time, characterised by generational turnover, and, especially, to make use of the innovative business platforms at its disposal. The next Micam, the leading footwear trade fair, in February will introduce a new area called Micam X, an initiative bringing together the most innovative, high-tech proposals for footwear, demonstrating to dealers from all over the world the latest new trends in three important areas: materials, retail and sustainability. Sustainability above all is the key driver for intercepting consumers’ demands and changing lifestyles today. Global markets are of course important to our member companies, but it’s equally important to make sure everyone sits down at the table to play by the same rules. This is why we're working hard to obtain European approval of legislation introducing obligatory information on origin.

If customers all over the world and the most prestigious fashion brands are willing to pay a premium price for shoes made in Italy, we need to protect this added value. Otherwise the industrial heritage of a crucial sector of the Italian economy will be lost, with very serious consequences for employment in the country.”

There has been no significant improvement in domestic demand since the summer: household purchases were down -3.3% by quantity in the first nine months of the year, or -2.6% by value. The only growing segment is athletic footwear and sneakers (+1.5% by volume and +3.5% in terms of spending). Sales of “classic” shoes were down for both men (by about 10% by volume) and women (-6%, though sales of ankle boots and high boots remained stable).

One of the few areas to perform positively was exports, up +6.7% by value thanks to work performed on contract for luxury brands, with a slight drop in terms of quantity (-0.8% in the first eight months of the year, as much as -4.2% in the case of leather shoes) and an average price +7.5% higher. Breaking down the trends by market, there were encouraging signs from Switzerland (+24.2% by value) and France (+9% in terms of both value and volume), which together account for almost a third of the total value of Italy’s footwear exports, while difficulty persisted in exports to Germany (-8.7% by volume), Russia (-18.5%) and the Middle East (-14%), with a -12.8% drop by volume in the Arab Emirates. Exports to the USA were up (+11.6% by value), as were exports to the Far East (+9.2% on the whole). The “China+Hong Kong” aggregate, now the fifth largest export market by value, grew 3.1% by volume and 8.5% in terms of value.

The total number of footwear manufacturers in the first nine months of 2019 was 4,357 (148 less than in the previous year, a -3.3% drop), while the number of employees remained practically unchanged at 75,474 (-0.3%, 206 workers less). The period saw significantly increased resort to wage support in the leather industry (+28.3% authorised hours).

In the end, people in the business are pessimistic about the future. The majority of those interviewed about their expectations for the coming year did not foresee any growth at all, and practically all of them don’t believe that the measures included in the2020 Economic and Finance Document will bring any economic benefits for enterprises.

Assocalzaturifici - Trade Association for Italian Shoemakers (Z1290)

Siro Badon, Chair of Assocalzaturifici: “To get through this difficult period we need to invest in ourselves and in our skills. It is essential to train new professionals that are able to innovate Italian footwear manufacturing companies”

Exports are the only positive note within the sector, even though volumes decreased. On the employment front the number of companies and the industry workforce continue to fall: -119 footwear manufacturers (including both industrial and craft operators), which amounts to a -2.6% reduction, and 492 less workers (-0.7%) compared to December 2018.

Italian footwear appeals to foreign markets: in the first six months of 2019 Italian exports for the sector increased significantly by +7.1% in value (the average price is now 47.55 Euro/pair, +8.2%). This figure comes from the report on the Italian Footwear Industry–First half of 2019 – that was prepared by the Confindustria Moda Research Centre for Assocalzaturifici. The snapshot to emerge from the sectoral report reveals that, despite the performance of exports, certain difficulties still remain due primarily to chronically weak domestic consumption - after a decade of slow decline, in the first half of this year the reduction in household spending intensified (-3.7% in quantity, with much more negative trends for traditional retail). To this we must add the climate of uncertainty at an international level: from the probable continuation of trade tensions and protectionist approaches, to the slowdown of major economies (foremostly China and Germany), through to the lack of a recovery in key markets for certain footwear manufacturing districts. These include Russia where, after a trend reversal in 2018, we are once again seeing reductions of over 15%, and then we have the uncertainties over the timing and mechanics of Brexit, with the danger of a “no deal” still looming large. “To get through this difficult period we need to invest in ourselves and in our skills – states Siro Badon, Chair of Assocalzaturifici –. It is essential to train new professionals that are able to innovate Italian footwear manufacturing companies and fully espouse our tradition and the standards of excellence that characterise our production. Training, combined with targeted internationalisation strategies and important trade fair events like Micam, is the concrete response through which we can kick-start the process of relaunching Italian footwear and confirm our global leadership. The sector is crucial for our economy and can be a driver for Italian industry as a whole".

The evolution of foreign sales, that was positive overall and led to a significant consolidation in the trade surplus for the first 6 months of the year (+10.7%), actually conceals acute differences in company performances. Indeed, alongside outstanding results for many international luxury brands, which a large number of companies operate for as subcontractors (as demonstrated by the significant increases in trade flows towards Switzerland - a traditional logistics and distribution hub for major brands - and France), there is also a fairly significant number of companies still struggling to get back on track and experience positive trends. There is no shortage of expanding markets (with double-figure increases in value for North America and the Far East), but these increases are often accompanied by reductions in volume (of almost -4% for the US and Canada; more limited decreases, -1.1%, for countries in the Far East, with Japan faring poorly).

Specifically, production fell by -2.3% in volume, although smaller companies in the sample that was surveyed (i.e. those with turnover of less than 15 million) experienced reductions of -4.5%, while in terms of domestic consumption the only segment to perform positively was sports shoes/sneakers (+0.8% quantity and +2.9% in value), with significant decreases for “classic” footwear for men and women (-9.5% and -8.3% in volume respectively). With regard to sales channels, online sales continue to increase (+10.3% in volume and +17.3% in expenditure), accounting for 11% of the total volume of sales in the period, while performance was poor for traditional retail (-11% in pairs sold, with a reduction of almost 16% in expenditure) and itinerant traders (with reductions in the region of -14%).

In terms of employment, the reduction in the number of companies and the industry workforce continued: the first half of 2019 closed with a balance of - 119 footwear manufacturers (including both industrial and craft operators), which amounts to a -2.6% reduction, and 492 less workers (-0.7%) compared to December 2018. These reductions are even more severe if we also factor in - in addition to footwear manufacturers - producers of components (-75 companies and -493 workers). Therefore, on the whole, we have 194 less companies and 985 less workers compared to the end of 2018. In geographical terms, there were reductions in the number of companies for all seven of the main footwear manufacturing regions, with the sole exception of Lombardy (+13 units). In terms of the workforce, there were increases in Tuscany (+117 workers) and Puglia. As was the case in 2018, Marche is the region that fared worst, in terms of both production units (-95) and number of workers (-1164). Veneto ended the first half of the year with a reduction of 30 companies, considering footwear manufacturers and component producers, and a small reduction in its workforce (-20 workers compared to the end of 2018). The number of active companies in Emilia Romagna and Campania fell by 12 and 6 units respectively, with a corresponding loss of 149 and 128 jobs. The workforce in Lombardy fell by 57 units (-0.8%). Finally, in the first 6 months of the year authorised wage support hours for companies in the leather supply chain increased by 27.1% to almost 4 million hours.

Milan, 06 November 2019

Assocalzaturifici - Trade Association for Italian Shoemakers (Z1285)-1

Today, during the 34th national convention of Confindustria Young Entrepreneurs in Capri, the Assocalzaturifici youth group elected Elisa Lanciotti as Chair for the years 2019-2023. Born in 1987, with a degree in economics and commerce, she is in charge of international sales in her family’s business, Calzaturificio Lancio of Montegranaro (FM).

The new Chair was elected on a strong agenda with a focus on seminars addressing issues such as technological innovation, digital technology in production processes and customer relations, marketing and female entrepreneurs.

All with an emphasis on greater integration and cohesion among young people in different trade associations and effective involvement of youth in the group’s decision-making processes.

Elisa Lanciotti will be flanked by four Deputy Chairs: Federico Bellò of Calzaturificio Bellò in Vigonovo (VE); Sara Cuccu of Loriblu in Porto Sant'Elpidio (FM); Anna Fidanza of Condor Trade in Verolanuova (BS) and Umberto Portogallo of Calzaturificio Florence in Aversa (Caserta).

“Innovation, cohesion and education: these are the three pillars which will guide our programme,” declares Elisa Lanciotti. “We will maintain continuity with the work of outgoing Chair Charlotta Bachini, with an additional emphasis on Industry 4.0”.

Milan, 18 October 2019

Assocalzaturifici -Trade Association for Italian Shoemakers (Z1284)-2

The dates of the event have been officially announced, adapted to respond to companies’ requirements and fit into the international calendar. March 15-16 and October 4-6 2020 are the dates of Moda Made in Italy – the international event for high-end footwear and accessories promoted by Assocalzaturifici – bringing together members of the industry and the trade press from southern and central Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The event will once more be held in Munich’s trade fair centre, MOC (Munich Order Centre).

The decision to hold the event on two days in March is dictated by the need to fit the event into Germany’s packed trade fair calendar while responding to the requirements of companies in the industry, who wish to optimise the amount of time they spend at the trade fair with a targeted, less dispersive approach. The initiative aims to maintain continuity with the past despite the event’s new format, guaranteeing that trade fair visitors receive all the usual services and efficiency.

The timing of the event in the second half of the year - during Oktoberfest - is still a critical point, as congestion in the city has an impact on visitors’ decision whether to stay in town longer. The Munich event has always prospered as the last event of the season for the trade, established to give members of the trade more time to think and consider their purchases carefully once they have the initial results of the last season’s sales in hand, at the end of a packed calendar of international and regional events. Changes in the trade fair calendar in recent years and difficult sales dynamics have eroded away our customers’ certainties and resources, so that many of them now prefer to play defensively, giving up courageous, diversified choices in favour of “safer” products, when what they really need is to be bolder in order to stand out and make their range truly unique on a highly competitive, saturated market. Our buyers need more time to think and make the right buying decisions.

In this context of great uncertainty in the European retail business, as evinced by the statistics and attendance at the most recent MICAM and confirmed by dealers’ difficulty and indecision making buying decisions, Moda Made in Italy has decided to postpone its dates to October 4-6, 2020.

The choice of dates for the next edition of Moda Made in Italy will in fact fit into a wider ranging strategy responding to the demands of the market and specifically of buyers interested in the range on display at the event, at a time when the industry has a strong focus on the German market, traditionally an important one for Italian shoes, despite its current lack-lustre performance.

145 brands were showcased at the end of September before dealers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland who have been showing interest in the excellence of Italian footwear for more than twenty years and, at the end of the season, had another opportunity to complete their orders with the best-selling articles and new trends that emerged in the season.

In 2018 alone, Italy exported almost 34 million pairs of shoes to Germany with a total value in excess of a billion Euros. Last year, Germany confirmed its ranking as the second largest market for Italian footwear in terms of quantity, third largest in terms of value.

“The figures for the first five months of 2019 are not as bad as those of the first quarter, and while still negative in terms of volume (-6%), they have matched the first 5 months of 2018 in terms of value, thanks to an increase in average price per pair,” explains Siro Badon, Assocalzaturifici Chair. “In this scenario, Italian footwear makers are still expressing concern about the German market, as revealed by the orders received from Germany in the second quarter of 2019 (-2.2%, according to a survey conducted among a sample of member companies). This is why we are in the front lines promoting meetings with buyers in the area”.

Milan, 21 October 2019

Assocalzaturifici -Trade Association for Italian Shoemakers (Z1283)-3

At Obuv’ Mir Koži in Moscow, Assocalzaturifici relaunches the footwear industry in a crucial market for Italian exports Key markets for exports from Italy’s many footwear districts, Russia and the CIS area are the focus of attention for Assocalzaturifici, which organises Obuv’ Mir Koži, the autumn edition of the key trade fair for buyers in the area, organised with Bologna Fiere on October 21 through 24, 2019 at Expocentre in Moscow (Pavilion 7, Halls 3, 4, 5, 2).

140 Italian brands will be represented at the event, with 114 exhibitors (91 footwear companies and 23 makers of leather goods) showcasing their spring/summer 2020 collections before buyers and dealers from all over the Russian Federation and other countries in the CIS area, such as Belarus, Armenia and Kazakhstan. Obuv’ Mir Koži offers an essential opportunity to underline the importance of the Russian market for the Italian footwear industry. The area is the top destination of exports from a number of Italy’s footwear manufacturing districts, and these countries on the whole demonstrate great interest in buying Italian shoes. Italian exhibitors include 53 companies from Marche, 20 from Campania, 8 each from Veneto and Tuscany, 4 each from Lombardy and Emilia Romagna, one company from Puglia and one from Sicily.

More than 2 million and 300 thousand pairs of Italian shoes worth a total of 134 million Euro were exported to Russia alone between January and June of 2019; the figure exceeds 3 million and 300 thousand pairs with a total value of more than 181 million Euro if we consider not only Russia but the former CIS area as well.
Though footwear accounted for 20% of Italy’s total fashion, textiles and accessories exports to Russia in 2018, confirming that Italian footwear is a key asset for the country’s trade balance, the first six months of 2019 saw a significant drop over the first half of the previous year in terms of both value and volume (-17% and -19.5%, respectively), despite a 3.1% increase in the average price of a pair of shoes, to 58.20 Euros per pair. This price is still well over the average price for exported Italian shoes, despite the unfavourable trend on the Russian market and growing difficulty maintaining this position at the high end of the market, demonstrating the value that has always been attributed to Italian shoes.

“We are aware of the concern with which our member companies are watching the political and economic balance of these areas as an indicator of business opportunities,” explains Assocalzaturifici Chair Siro Badon. “The Moscow event is very important for emphasising our intention to continue serving this market, and so we have implemented new strategies to make it an increasingly attractive opportunity for buyers and a constructive possibility for companies.

“Under our partnership with ITA,” continues Badon, “we have invited important buyers whom we are confident will find all the excellence of Italian footwear that Russian customers appreciate so much in the samples on exhibit. Organising the trade fair event is only one aspect of Assocalzaturifici’s strategy for the Russian market. A project for mapping fashion retailers in the principal cities, launched a year ago with the ITA Agency and currently being implemented, will allow us to adapt our promotional policies to the positioning of Italian brands at the trade fair, not only in Moscow but at MICAM in Milan”.

“Sales of Italian shoes and leather goods in Russia have dropped slightly, requiring us to work harder to support Italian enterprises. At this edition of Obuv, we have invited 35 buyers from the most distant cities in the Russian Federation in order to encourage and promote sales in this vast territory. The univocal marking process introduced under Russian legislation in July has required Italian companies to adapt to the new situation, and our office has a Trade Barriers Desk which has been providing companies with information and assistance,” says Pier Paolo Celeste, Director of ITA Agency in Moscow.

The importance assigned to the event by official institutions is demonstrated by the announcement that the Italian ambassador, His Excellency Pasquale Terracciano, will visit the trade fair to discuss political and economic trends in the area with Assocalzaturifici and representatives of top footwear brands.

But Obuv’ Mir Koži will also include convivial occasions when business gives way to traditional Italian hospitality and warmth. During the event, exhibitors and buyers will be able to enjoy a daily catering service on site at the trade fair as well as a series of services intended exclusively for them, available in Lounge Italia.

Milan, 18 October 2019

Assocalzaturifici -Trade Association for Italian Shoemakers (Z1277)-4

50 Italian brands present in Kazakhstan and 30 showcased in Ukraine. Select buyers are expected to attend the two events and the ITA Agency will be providing its operational support

La Moda Italiana@Almaty is back, from 2 to 4 October 2019 at the Dom Priomov in Almaty, Kazakhstan. And so is La Moda Italiana@Kiev, taking place at the Intercontinental Hotel in Kiev, Ukraine, on 7 and 8 October 2019. With these two b2b exhibitions promoted by Assocalzaturifici in partnership with Ente Moda Italia and ITA Agency, the association is continuing to focus on markets that are critical for the equilibrium of Italian footwear exports, at a particularly delicate time, but one that still offers opportunities, for Italian companies looking to these areas.

“There are many grounds for uncertainty for the entire market in the CIS area, both for domestic reasons - from the weak banking and currency system in Kazakhstan to the political and economic crises in Ukraine - and owing to the trade war between the USA and China, the repercussions of which are felt throughout the entire Asian market,” – remarked Siro Badon, Assocalzaturifici Chair. “Italian footwear sales are decreasing in Ukraine in both quantity and value (down 4.5% and 8.9% respectively in the first 5 months of this year, compared to last year), while in Kazakhstan, the drop is even more significant for both items.” “In these conditions,” continued Mr Badon, “our work to support the enterprises that export to these markets for an overall value of almost 27 million euros becomes fundamental. In particular, we need to maintain the market standing gained through positive investments made recently by the companies and we have to be ready to seize the opportunities we have. For example, in Uzbekistan, the market is seeking new men’s clothing and footwear collections, while in Ukraine, the widespread presence of single-brand retail makes it one of the most interesting markets from this perspective.”

“The La Moda Italiana shows in Almaty and Kiev are two strategic platforms for the Italian men’s and women’s footwear companies that have opted to take part,” said Stefano Festa Marzotto, Ente Moda Italia Chair. “Two opportunities to enter into contact with and forge closer relations not only with industry professionals in these two countries, but also with those in their neighbouring countries, thus expanding possibilities for business.

Consumers in Kazakhstan have become increasingly interested in Italian fashion over the years. The country’s major cities boast a good network of retail stores and shopping malls and the market is becoming more and more structured. At the same time, Ukraine is experiencing a culture of mindful, mature fashion and has always dedicated particular attention to Italian products. What is more, in recent years, after the 2014/2015 crisis, export figures for Italian clothing and accessories have started to rise again. I wish to conclude by underlining one of the most important aspects of these two alliances: the great work carried out in close collaboration by EMI (Ente Moda Italia) and Assocalzaturifici, with the essential support of ITA Agency and its offices located in these countries, with which we have been able to conduct targeted actions to intercept the best buyers and showcase the quality and style of Italian fashion”.

Besides being very useful occasions from a sales perspective, La Moda Italiana@Almaty and La Moda Italiana@Kiev represent a successful partnership between the public and private sectors, with the industry association Assocalzaturifici, the Ente Moda Italia body and the Foreign Trade Agency working together to build platforms for the internationalisation of Italian companies.

We must continue conveying this vital winning formula in business events to enable companies to carry on cornering markets that are crucial for the footwear industry and for Italian-made accessories in general.

50 Italian total look brands are present in Almaty, the only industry event to promote and consolidate the export of Italian fashion, footwear, clothing and accessories throughout the entire central Asian market Assocalzaturifici has been investing in the Central Asian market for 15 years now, through a project that started out as a platform for launching Italian footwear brands, Shoes from Italy, contributing to the deep-rooted and widespread promotion of Italian products along the distribution chain throughout the whole of Kazakhstan. In 2018, the event was enriched with “total look” products, thanks to the strategic partnership with Ente Moda Italia, with a view to creating a landmark event for all distributors interested in Italian fashion.

The event takes place in one of the most prestigious spaces of the financial capital of Kazakhstan, the Dom Priemov, and relies on the direct operational support of the Almaty office of the ITA Agency, which is creating a campaign for promotion and for the scouting of select buyers: an incoming programme of 60 retail and distribution players, from all provinces in Kazakhstan, and from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

30 brands are instead present in Kiev for the second event in the CIS area of the programme promoted by Assocalzaturifici. It is the only event in the country dedicated to b2b in the fashion, footwear and accessories industry, and it will be taking place at the Intercontinental Hotel in the Ukrainian capital. This event is eagerly awaited every six months by leading retailers, in a city which, after years of hardship, is relaunching itself in the pursuit of closer and closer collaboration with Italian enterprises in the sector, following the path paved by the economic and cultural affinity that has always been particularly strong.

Thanks to the operational contribution of the Kiev office of the ITA Agency, which will help organise the event by creating an incoming programme of 30 select buyers from all the country’s regions, La Moda Italiana@Kiev has taken on an even more strategic role in a particularly complex international setting in terms of political and economic relations between Ukraine and nearby Russia, which makes it necessary to directly corner a market that has always dedicated special attention to Italian-made goods.

Milan, September 2019

Assocalzaturifici -Trade Association for Italian Shoemakers (Z1269)-5

The 50th anniversary edition concludes on a positive note. Siro Badon: the event’s leadership is confirmed; now our attention turns to the February 2020 edition.

The 88th edition of MICAM, the international footwear exhibition promoted by Assocalzaturifici, came to a close yesterday at the Rho Fiera Milano. The event was attended by 44,076 trade visitors, including 60% from abroad, who were able to peruse a wide range of exhibits offered by 1303 companies.

Attendance figures showed a 0.94% increase in individual visitor numbers compared with February 2019. In particular, dealers from abroad rose by almost 2% while there was a 0.55% drop in the number of Italians.

On the international front, we continued to see substantial numbers of visitors from China and Hong Kong, due to the fact that the show did not coincide with holidays in those countries; we also had a 10% increase in attendees from our neighbour, Switzerland. Traditional European markets substantially held up while we saw a double-digit drop in visitors from Russia (-12.85%) and Ukraine (-8.68%).

MICAM 88 was the first edition under the guidance of the new Chair Siro Badon: “Trade fairs continue to provide our companies with a great opportunity to do business and, seeing the results, we are proud of the success of this edition which confirms MICAM’s standing as the world’s leading footwear trade show”. “Our association – continues Badon – will continue to help our companies internationalise their business, using every possible means to bring together quality products and buyers who are capable of appreciating them – with particular reference to the Russian and Ukrainian markets which, as was already forecast prior to the event, are shrinking”.

The edition which has just concluded marked an important anniversary: fifty years since the first edition of the fair. A symbolic and pivotal moment for the industry which is undergoing a significant transformation, both as regards the production process and the whole ethos surrounding footwear, including the way it is perceived by the final consumer.

MICAM also represented an opportunity to relaunch Italian-made footwear at a time when our shoe manufacturing districts continue to experience difficulties, by showing that Italian fashion creations are not only extremely well-made but also an iconic part of our country’s culture. An aspect reiterated by Ivan Scalfarotto, Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, on the occasion of his visit to the fair, during which he announced a series of initiatives to promote internationalization and fully exploit the fashion system’s potential.

Amongst the various novelties presented during this edition of MICAM, the one that aroused particular interest on the part of trade visitors was the PLAYERS DISTRICT. This new exhibit area was created to provide a showcase specifically for sports and outdoor shoes, a segment that is increasingly attracting the attention of buyers and consumers and that requires manufacturers to invest continually in research and technology. A number of exciting collateral events, such as the MICAM Trophy, were held in this lively new area, which is to be developed further for the February edition.

The It’s Shoe Time exhibition in the Fashion Square was a huge success. Set up to celebrate the trade fair’s fiftieth anniversary, it took visitors on an immersive journey through time, tracing the way life-styles - as reflected in shoe fashions - evolved from the Seventies to the present day.

After wowing trade visitors at the fair centre, the exhibition will transfer to MUDEC where it will be open to the public from 19 to 22 September, free-of-charge: a unique opportunity to present the ‘footwear culture’ and MICAM to the wider public present during fashion week.

The next edition of MICAM from 16 to 19 February 2020, with the F/W 2020-2021 collections.

PLUG-Mi, the sneakers culture experience, looks forward to seeing you at fieramilanocity, pavilion 4, on 5 and 6 October 2019.

Assocalzaturifici -Trade Association for Italian Shoemakers (Z1266)-6


Despite favourable trends for the value of exports and a double-figure increase in the trade surplus, there are still some very alarming issues: reductions in volumes, growing disparities between the performances of large brands and SMEs, difficulties in various key foreign markets and new reductions in domestic consumption (which was felt most strongly in high street stores, as e-commerce continued to grow).

In the first six months of 2019 the economic situation in the Italian footwear sector was characterised by a continuation of the lacklustre trends that observed for the whole of 2018: although there were only slight average reductions in volume for exports and production, which also happened to be accompanied by increases in value (with exports up as much as +8.4% in the first five months, to set yet another record), companies are currently still facing a number of difficulties in the current climate.

Aside from the aforementioned chronically poor domestic consumption which, after a decade of gradual erosion, has experienced a more intense reduction in household expenditure in the first six months of the year (-3.7% in quantity, with much more severe trends for the traditional retail sector) there is uncertainty in terms of the international macroeconomic outlook which is linked to a series of factors: a likely continuation of trade tensions and protectionist approaches, the slowdown of major economies (foremostly China and Germany), the lack of a recovery in key markets for certain footwear manufacturing districts (after the trend reversal in 2018 in Russia, reductions of over 15% are once again being seen), through to uncertainties concerning the timing and mechanics of Brexit, with the threat of a "no deal" still looming large.

The evolution of foreign sales, that was positive overall and which drove a significant consolidation in the trade surplus for the first five months of the year (+13.1%), actually conceals acute differences in company performances. Indeed, alongside outstanding results for many international luxury brands, which a large number of companies operate for as subcontractors (as demonstrated by the significant increases in trade flows towards Switzerland a traditional logistics and distribution hub for major brands and France), there is also a fairly significant number of companies still struggling to get back on track and experience positive trends.

There is no shortage of expanding markets (with double-figure increases in value for North America and the Far East), but these increases are often accompanied by reductions in volume (of around -3% for the US and Canada) or stable volumes (+0.4% for countries in the Far East, with Japan off the pace).

After a weak first quarter in terms of the economic situation, there were no significant changes in the second quarter, despite a slight improvement in foreign sales. According to the survey conducted by the Confindustria Moda Research Centre for Assocalzaturifici, the first half of 2019 closed with an average reduction in production volumes of around -2.3% (with half of respondent companies reporting negative performances), despite a concurrent +2% increase in value.

Expectations for the second half of the year suggest a slight alleviation of negative trends, but there is still no recovery on the horizon and the poor performance looks set to continue, as also confirmed by the flat order backlog in the second quarter.

The continuing difficulties and consequences of the crisis which severely affected certain districts (particularly those most exposed to markets in the former Soviet bloc) resulted in a further reduction in the number of active companies and the industry workforce in the first six months of the year, with a simultaneous increase in authorised wage support hours for companies in the leather segment (+27.1%), following the sharp decrease in the use of wage support instruments seen in the last two years.

Let us now analyse the individual variables in detail.


National production levels at the start of 2019 remained below par. The lacklustre performance of 2018 – which closed with a total production of 184.3 million pairs of shoes (down -3.3%, despite a +0.8% in value) – was also confirmed for the first half of 2019 from the survey with our members regarding their output levels.

On average, production within the panel fell by -2.3% in quantity in the first half of the year, with a negligible improvement in the second quarter.

In the survey, which was conducted in July, one in every two respondents reported a reduction compared to the first half of 2018 (a slight reduction compared to the 58% of respondents who stated this in the first quarter), while the remaining 50% is divided fairly equally between those reporting stability (26%) and growth (24%, of which just over half, 11% of the total, reported increases of more than 5% in volume).

Therefore, the sample reveals uneven trends. Although the analysis by respondent turnover class shows, on average, negative trends both for companies with turnovers in excess of 15 million Euro and smaller companies, it is the latter who have felt the pinch more significantly (-4.5% in volume).

By combining the result in quantity with the price trends (which are much higher in foreign markets, that absorb approximately 85% of production) the value of production is estimated to have increased by around +2% on January/June 2018.

With regard to forecasts for the economic situation in the second part of the year, the majority of respondents expect stability (6 out of 10), but the number expecting the situation to worsen is not insignificant (with 37% and 29% expecting the situation to worsen domestically and internationally respectively).

Hopes of any significant improvement also appeared to be dashed by the order backlog in the second quarter, which is completely flat on the whole. Indeed, the average order backlog for the period April-June 2019 stands at a disappointing +0.1% in volume for the companies in the sample, with yet another reduction (-2.3%) in the Italian market and a weak +0.6% for the overall international order backlog, where – in line with official export figures for the start of 2019 – we see a slowdown in orders from Germany (-2.2%), Russia/CIS, Middle East and Japan, with more positive results for France (+3.2%), China/Hong Kong and the US. There were no changes in the order backlog from other EU member states.

Expectations for production in the second half of 2019 remain cautious, given also the major uncertainty regarding the general economic and political landscape: approximately 40% of entrepreneurs believe there will be a reduction in the number of pairs of shoes produced, while 43% of respondents believe that will be no change and only 17% are optimistic. The weighting of responses based on company dimensions leads to estimates on output remaining negative (-2.1%) in the second half of the year, with this representing an improvement of only 0.2% compared to the first semester.

Based on these responses, the level of use of production capacity at the end of December 2019 (which is expected to be approximately 81% among respondent companies) is in line with the level reported for June (82%), which offers further confirmation that we are unlikely to see any major changes in the second half of the year.


In the first five months of 2019 Italian footwear exports experienced a slight reduction in volume (-0.4%), with a comforting +8.4% increase in value (with the average price up to 45.93 Euro/pair, +8.8%). On the whole, including pure commercialisation transactions, 91.8 million pairs of shoes were sold abroad (343 thousand pairs less than in the period January-May 2018) for a value of 4.22 billion Euro (a new record in absolute value terms for the period in question, even when considered net of inflation).

Therefore, foreign sales improved slightly compared to the first quarter, but are increasingly dependent on the performances of major fashion brands, as can be seen from the increases in Switzerland (+25.5% in value and +7.6% in quantity, which has now become the leading purchasing country in value terms) and France, which are traditional subcontracting destinations for the major international fashion brands.

Net of trade flows towards Switzerland and France (which together account for 1/3 of foreign sales in value terms), exports would have fallen by -3.8% in terms of volume, with +3.9% in value.

Therefore, the fairly reasonable average data conceal a mixed picture alongside companies that are expanding, including at an impressive rate, there are many own branded companies of small, medium and medium/large dimensions – which represent the backbone of the districts, as more than 80% of footwear manufacturing companies has less than 20 employees, and only 5% have more than 50 employees – that are still struggling and certainly not benefiting from the recessionary trends for demand in many markets.

In the EU, aside from France (where the increase was approximately +12.5% for both value and volume), the UK and Spain also fared well (with both showing increases of nearly +5%), while there were reductions in Germany (-6% in volume, with value stable), the Netherlands and Belgium. On the whole, the European Union – the destination for seven out of every 10 pairs of shoes exported – had a +5.4% increase in value and stable volumes (+0.8%).

Outside the EU, trends fluctuated, as non-EU markets experienced the best results in value terms (+11.5%) but there was also a slowdown of -2.7% in volume.

Alongside the increase of trade flows to Switzerland, the negative trend for Russia was underscored (with an additional -18.8% fall in quantity and a -15.7% fall in value), as it was for Ukraine (-4.5% in volume) and Kazakhstan (with a heavy -29.3%). Performance was also unsatisfactory in the Middle East (-17% in quantity and -7.7% in value overall), with a -9.2% fall in volume for the United Arab Emirates.

There was an increase in value for North America (+13.5%), but a reduction of around 3% in volume in both the US (where the ongoing tariff war with China – which has thus far only affected the EU very marginally – has started to have an impact on fashion accessories, including certain items relating to footwear), and in Canada.

There were also double-figure increases in value for the Far East (+11.4% on the whole), which was stable in volume terms (+0.4%). China and Hong Kong recorded increases in value in the order of +13% (although only Hong Kong increased in volume terms, +8.4%, while China was essentially stable, -0.4%); together China and Hong Kong became the fifth destination market in value terms, with increases of 3.8% in volume and 13.3% in value. South Korea also increased by approximately 13% (with a +4.4% increase in volume) – continuing its strong expansion in recent years – which has placed it in the top 10 destination countries.

Japan continued to struggle, with a +6.5% increase in value and a -10% reduction in volume, although the free trade agreement with the EU came into force in February which will lead to the complete liberalisation of trade within a decade.

With regard to merceological categories, export trends for shoes with leather uppers are lagging behind the average levels (-3.7% in volume and +4.4% in value).

Within the leather sector, there were positive results only for footwear above the ankle (boots and booties), which registered a 3.3% improvement in volume and an even more comforting +9.7% increase in value. There were reductions of around -4% for walking shoes (despite a +6.3% increase in value): of these, only men’s walking shoes did not experience a reduction in volume (+0.2%, with a +10.7% increase in value); there was a reduction of -5% for women's walking shoes and a new setback for children's walking shoes (approximately -14% in both volume and value terms), after the recovery in 2018. Exports also failed to live up to expectations for sandals (-7% in volume, with stability in value terms), and sports shoes with leather uppers (-9% in volume, but there were increases for both synthetic and fabric uppers).

Moving to the analysis of non-leather segments, there were increases of more than 20% for fabric shoes, which also reported the second highest average price per pair, while there was a net recovery in the (marginal) sector of footwear with rubber uppers.

The slowdown in imports reflected the poor trends for domestic consumption. Indeed, import figures for the first 5 months show a reduction – albeit a limited one – in volume (-1%), with a +4.6% in value following an increase in average prices (+5.7%). A total of 158.3 million pairs of shoes were imported in Italy (1.5 million less than during the same period in 2018), of which 42.6 million with leather uppers.

China, which confirmed its status as the leading supplier by some stretch (with 2 out of every 5 footwear imports coming from the Asian giant), is stable in quantity (+0.4%), but was up in value terms (+10%). Despite this increase, the average price of Chinese footwear (5.59 Euro/pair) is still three and a half times lower than the products from other countries.

There were increases for all the main suppliers, with the exception of France (-19.3% in volume and -10% in value) and Romania (-9% in quantity, despite an increase in value), which alongside Bulgaria (that also decreased) represents the main partner for processing operations: Vietnam increased +5% volume, while the increase for Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands was in the order of 10%. Strong result for Spain.

The assessment by type of upper reveals reductions in volume for imports of leather shoes (-4.9%), as well as shoes in fabric (-6%) and slippers (-3.3%). On the other hand, there were increases for the synthetic segment (which was the leading segment in terms of volume, accounting for more than 58.8 million shoes, +5.7%, with a +15.7% increase for sports shoes) and the residual item, rubber footwear.

The trade surplus was 1.96 billion Euro in the first five months of the year, up 13.1% on the same period in 2018. Chapter 64 of the combined nomenclature (which includes finished footwear and parts) is in seventh position in terms of its trade surplus out of the 99 merceological chapters that make up the customs classification.


It was another difficult year for the domestic market. After an unsatisfactory first quarter, as a result also of the mild weather at the start of 2019, there was no recovery in the Italian market in the spring.

For the first half of the year the Sita Ricerca Fashion Consumer Panel highlights a reduction in household consumption of -3.7% in volume and -3.2% in expenditure.

Once again price sensitivity remains high (with the average increase in price for a pair of shoes +0.6%).

All segments experienced reductions, with the sole exception of "sport shoes/sneakers" (+0.8% in quantity and +2.9% in value). “Classic” shoes for men and women fared worst (with reductions of -9.5% and -8.3% in volume respectively, with stable results only for ankle boots/desert boots). Results for children's footwear (-1.6% in volume) and slippers (which fell by -2.7%, but increased +1% in value) were not as negative.

The preliminary results in terms of the performance of the various sales channels reveal a further significant increase for online shopping (+10.3% in volume and +17.3% in value), which accounted for 11% of total purchases in the first half of the year, with little or no change for retail chains (with volumes stable and a +2.3% increase in value). The results were negative for all other sales channels, starting with traditional retail (-11% in volume and a reduction of almost 16% in value). Itinerant traders also fared poorly (with reductions in the order of -14%).


The number of companies and the workforce in the sector continued to fall. As has been the case for several quarters, the worst affected districts were those with the highest traditional exposure to the markets of the CIS, where Italian exports now stand at only half of the value of six years ago.

The first half of 2019 closed with 119 less footwear manufacturers (including both industrial and craft operators), which amounts to a -2.6% reduction, and 492 less workers (-0.7%) than on 31 December 2018.

The reductions are even more severe if we also factor in – in addition to footwear manufacturers – producers of components (-75 companies and -493 workers). Therefore, on the whole, we have 194 less companies and 985 less workers compared to December 2018.

Through Infocamere-Movimprese, we have a regional breakdown of this data which highlights, with regard to companies, negative balances for all the seven main footwear manufacturing regions, with the sole exception of Lombardy (+13 units). In terms of the workforce, there were increases in Tuscany (+117 workers) and Puglia.

As was the case in 2018, Marche is the region that fared worst, in terms of both production units (-95) and number of workers (-1164). Veneto ended the first half of the year with a reduction of 30 companies, considering footwear manufacturers and component producers, and a small reduction in its workforce (-20 workers compared to the end of 2018). The number of active companies in Emilia Romania and Campania fell by 12 and 6 units respectively, with a corresponding loss of 149 and 128 jobs. The workforce in Lombardy fell by 57 units (-0.8%).

Workforce reductions in the first half of the year measured by chamber of commerce figures were also confirmed in the survey conducted on the sample of Assocalzaturifici members, with 32% of respondents reporting a reduction in their workforce compared to 2018.

Our survey also revealed that 7 out of every 10 companies expect their workforce to be "stable" with June levels at the end of 2019, however, the percentage of respondents expecting a reduction in their workforce (20%) is significantly higher than those expecting an increase (7%), which suggests that the negative trends we have seen in the first half of the year are likely to continue.

A further confirmation of the tensions on the employment front can be seen from the INPS data on the use of wage support instruments.

Indeed, after the sharp reduction in the past two years, in the first half of 2019 there was a new increase in the number of authorised wage support hours (CIG) for companies in the leather sector (comprising footwear manufacturers and component producers, as well as leather factories and tanneries), up to almost 4 million hours (+27.1% compared to the first half of 2018). There was a +38.2% increase for ordinary wage support and a reduction of -1.8% in extraordinary wage support (deriving from the depletion of the latter, -98.8%, following the abrogation of CIG in derogation).

There were significant increases in many regions, with Puglia and Tuscany the only main regions reporting reductions (-69% and -16% respectively). Marche (+22.4%) was the leading region in terms of the number of hours authorised (1.2 million, 30% of the national total). The number of hours authorised in Campania almost doubled (+97%) and there was a +84% increase in Veneto; also increases in Lombardy and Emilia Romagna exceeded 50%.

Assocalzaturifici -Trade Association for Italian Shoemakers (Z1251)-7
The powers for the members of new Chairman Siro Badon’s team have been decided

The assignment of duties and responsibilities to the Deputy Chairmen

was the first step towards the implementation of the new projects in a sector that is constantly evolving

Siro Badon’s term as Chairman of Assocalzaturifici for the years 2019-2023 was consolidated today with the assignment of the powers to his new Deputy Chairmen.

This step means the executive board supporting the new Chairman at the helm of the Association is now fully operational.

As highlighted by Badon in his inaugural address, the cornerstones of the Association's activities in the coming years will be Italian manufacturing, innovation in the sector, sustainability of the production cycle, as well as a focus on trade fairs and a close dialogue with institutions.

In accordance with this vision and the articles of association, the Chairman will be responsible for all institutional activities, in particular those involving Confindustria Moda and Confindustria, aside from supervising the organisation of MICAM, an event which is increasingly central to the policies for promoting business in the sector at an international level.

The assignment of the powers to Deputy Chairmen (Federico Bartoli for Training; Giovanna Ceolini for Europe; Pasquale della Pia for digitalisation and sustainability; Salina Ferretti for Asia, America, Seoul, Tokyo and children’s footwear; Giampietro Melchiorri for Russia and the former CIS bloc countries and Emerging Countries) will make it possible to implement the course of action expressed by the Chairman and agreed with the Meeting of Shareholders, while identifying the individuals that will be responsible for the Association’s activities.

In particular:

FEDERICO BARTOLI of the company Tiger Flex Srl (Monsummano Terme, Potenza) will be responsible for training: this is a strategic area for the competitiveness of Italian footwear. It is essential, on the one hand, for updating producers on the new technologies that are available in sector, and on the other for creating new skills and welcoming on board new generations of workers in each phase of the production process.

Federico Bartoli, class of 1974, represents the third generation of the family which founded the company Tiger Flex in 1952. Federico Bartoli has been working in the company’s historic factory in Monsummano, characterised by the iconic Tiger on the roof, since 1998, and was around to witness the event which changed the face of the whole sector in 2002, with the acquisition of the shoe factory by the Kering-Gucci group. He has been production director since 2008. As he sees it there are three essential components in work: excellence, efficiency and passion.

Federico Bartoli has held important posts in Confindustria Northern Tuscany since 2014, as chairman of the leather and footwear section, where the first point of his policy programme concerned training.
This is an aspect Bartoli has always been very attentive and sensitive to, as he was one of the creators of the Project "E' di moda il mio futuro", a venture by the fashion department of Confindustria Northern Tuscany that aimed to increase awareness with youngsters of the employment opportunities in the textile, clothing and footwear sectors.

GIOVANNA CEOLINI of the company Parabiago Collezioni Srl (Parabiago, Milan) will be responsible for activities linked to the market in Europe, those relating to the Industry Trade Fairs Committee for the organisation of the Moda Made in Italy event, for leather and accessories, which is promoted by Assocalzaturifici and held every six months in Munich. This will establish the Association's presence in the European market, which is fundamental for Italian companies, and in terms of protecting them in the context of trade fair events.

Giovanna Ceolini was born on 23 May 1959 and is an Italian entrepreneur and the sole director of Parabiago Collezioni Srl.

Immediately after obtaining her high school diploma in bookkeeping, she started working in the footwear sector in her hometown Parabiago (an important international footwear manufacturing district north of Milan), initially as a samples and sales manager for the Cele Ferrario shoe factory, and subsequently as general manager for the Conceria Buscatese tannery. Her first entrepreneurial venture was in 1995 alongside Karl Schlecht and Thierry Rabotin before she went on to found her own shoe factory, Parabiago Collezioni, in 1999. She chairs the Footwear Manufacturing Group for Confindustria in the Northern Milan area.

PASQUALE DELLA PIA of the company Della Pia Srl (Arzano, Naples) will be responsible for areas linked to digitalisation and sustainability, two key aspects in this new phase in the evolution of the market. These areas are increasingly important for defining the standards of the production processes in the footwear sector and by overseeing them, Assocalzaturifici will enable companies to develop towards new objectives and improve their competitiveness.

Pasquale Della Pia owns the Calzaturificio Della Pia srl shoe factory in Arzano (NA) along with his brother Giovanni and is its Sales manager. The company produces for luxury brands and its own brand "Deimille", which will be renamed D Milano starting from SS2020.

Since 2011 he has been a board member of Anci and has worked in the industrial union of Naples as Deputy Chairman of the fashion and design section. He is a member of the MODEC Regional Chamber of fashion for the Campania region and a founder of the Museo del Vero e del Falso, a Confindustria Campania association. He is a founding member of the Scientific Committee of ITS Campania Fashion which offers training courses for the production of footwear. Along with the CEC Chairman, Cleto Sagripanti, in April 2019 he organised the WFC – World Footwear Congress in Naples.

SALINA FERRETTI, of the company Falc Spa (Civitanova Marche, Macerata) will be responsible for Asia and America and will therefore focus on the international market and coordinate trade fair events in Seoul and Tokyo which Assocalzaturifici will be focusing on to offer quality showcases for Italian companies in Asian markets, where Italian products remain extremely popular. She will also be responsible for children’s footwear, a segment in which quality and safety are constantly evolving.

Since 2006 Salina Ferretti has been General Manager of Falc, a children’s footwear company that owns Naturino, Falcotto and Voile Blanche, a collection for men and women, as well as other brands.

Ferretti was born in the United Kingdom in 1967 and went to school there until she was a teenager. In 1993 she graduated in Economics and Business Management at Bocconi University in Milan and in the same year she started working in Frankfurt as a Management Controller for Merloni, a leading European home furniture company. In 1995 she joined the Falc group as Sales Manager for European markets. From 2004 to 2006 she lived in Beijing where the company opened more than 80 corner stores in various Chinese cities. Since 2006 she has been General Manager of Falc. In 2016 she was appointed Chairman of the Association of footwear manufacturers in Macerata.

GIAMPIETRO MELCHIORRI, of the Gal.Men. Srl shoe factory (Montegranaro, Fermo) is responsible for the market which includes Russia and the Countries of the former CIS bloc as well as Emerging Countries and will therefore also deal with events organised in these markets, such as OBUV in Moscow as well as the events in Kiev and Almaty in Ukraine. These are markets with a long-standing strong relationship with Italian products that need a special focus to ensure that Italian companies are well placed to seize these opportunities. Melchiorri will also be responsible for Made in Italy production, which must be protected to guarantee quality and continue to raise awareness on this issue with international markets and institutions.

Giampietro Melchiorri is 54 years old. He is married and has two children. Since 1985 he and his brother Lucio run the GAL.MEN shoe factory, which was founded by their father Alessandro in 1955.

Melchiorri is highly involved in the Confindustria network in the province of Fermo, where his company is based. In particular, he held the post as Chairman of the footwear section for Confindustria Fermo for 2015-2016, when he also became Chairman of Confindustria Fermo.

Since 2017 he has been Chairman of Confindustria for the Central Adriatic Ascoli Piceno and Fermo areas.

The executive board also includes CHARLOTTA BACHINI (of the Gardenia Srl shoe factory in Santa Maria a Monte, Pistoia) with the post of Chair of the Association's Young Entrepreneurs and ANNARITA PILOTTI (of the company Loriblu Spa, of Porto Sant’Elpidio, Fermo), the last Chair of the Association. The latter two board members will offer an important contribution to the board as they represent, respectively, a connection with the sector's future expectations and the results that have already been reached by the Association.

Milan, 22 July 2019

Assocalzaturifici - Trade Association for Italian Shoemakers (Z1249)-8

LA MODA ITALIANA @ SEOUL: from 9 to 11 July at the Westin Chosun Hotel

Tommaso Cancellara, General Director of Assocalzaturifici

Ente Moda Italia turns the spotlights on the new collections of 28 Italian brands, in collaboration with Sistema Moda Italia and Assocalzaturifici. Great expectations for the latest edition of the project that presents Italian style to South Korea, one of the most responsive and dynamic markets of the moment.

Ente Moda Italia is back in South Korea with a new edition of “La Moda Italiana @ Seoul”, the exhibition-rendezvous that has been presenting a selection of collections from Italian companies to the Korean market for fourteen seasons.

From Tuesday 9 to Thursday 11 July 2019, inside the Grand Ballroom of the Westin Chosun Hotel, one of the most beautiful hotels in downtown Seoul, the protagonists will be 28 Italian brands with their new men’s and women’s fashion collections for spring-summer 2020 featuring: clothing, accessories, bags and luggage, footwear, millinery, coats and jackets, knitwear and total looks.

Once again this edition of “La Moda Italiana @ Seoul” is produced in close cooperation with Sistema Moda Italia and Assocalzaturifici and will involve the promotional consultancy of People of Taste, the innovative business agent platform that supports international designers and their creativity on the South Korean market. In fact, EMI has launched the web portal, in collaboration with People of Taste, which will provide members of the trade with lots of useful information about the event and the participating companies.

“Our presence in Seoul is an important opportunity for small and medium sized Italian businesses to present their collections and maximize the quality of their products vis-à-vis South Korean fashion retailers”, says Alberto Scaccioni, CEO of Ente Moda Italia. ”Past seasons have thrown up concrete and significant feedback on the part of sector players – at the last summer edition there were over 900 buyers, these included the country’s most important department stores, big fashion groups and the top retailers and independent multi-brands – and, for this reason at this edition we have once again registered great interest on the part of Italian companies, also considering the trend of our exports to this country. The updated figures regarding exports to Korea, recorded by Confindustria Moda show that, in the first three months of 2019, Italian fashion-textiles performed really well, with an overall increase of +22%, confirming the great vivacity of a market that appreciates Italian style and creativity. Undoubtedly our participation at Seoul is confirmed as a strategic tool at the service of Italian companies that we also realize thanks to the synergic collaboration with Sistema Moda Italia and Assocalzaturifici with which we share the objective of top quality promotion of our country’s fashion”.

“A sector like footwear well represents the value and the journey of Made in Italy fashion: in fact, like many other industries, footwear finds the most important part of its commercial expression in the international market. Looking at the latest sector surveys, Italy is in third place among the exporters on a worldwide level and is in second place for leather footwear” observes Tommaso Cancellara, General Director of Assocalzaturifici. “Our production finds its most important interlocutors in Asian countries and the ongoing dialogue with them represents an essential condition for keeping the interest of our buyers on this continent alive and demonstrating the value of the research and quality that is contained within a Made in Italy product. So a rendezvous like “La Moda Italiana @ Seoul” constitutes an ideal moment for allowing companies in our industry to enter into contact with a market that is ready to welcome them, as well as to reaffirm the quality of our footwear, the strong identity of which represents an Italian flag in the world.”

This edition of La Moda Italiana @ Seoul will also feature the special partnerships of Kimbo caffè and Misura Corea whose products will contribute to offering an Italian-style welcome to the Korean buyers coming to the event to meet Italian entrepreneurs.

Here are the brands that will be participating at this edition:


For more information:

EMI - ENTE MODA ITALIA, was established in 1983 by the Sistema Moda Italia and Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana to promote, propagate and valorize Made in Italy abroad. Within the context of this mission, EMI organizes the participation of qualified Italian firms in some of the most important international trade fairs which include Italian Fashion @ CPM Collection Première Moscow, Italian Fashion @ Capsule in New York, Italian Fashion @ Liberty Fairs in New York and Las Vegas, La Moda Italiana @ Almaty (Kazakhstan), La Moda Italiana @ Kiev, La Moda Italiana @ CENTRESTAGE in Hong Kong and La Moda Italiana @ Project Tokyo.

ASSOCALZATURIFICI represents, on a national level, businesses of an industrial nature that operate in the footwear production sector. It includes around 600 registered companies and is the spokesperson for an industry which comprehensively invoices over € 14.2 billion, employs 75,600 people and exports 85% of its production. The association’s mission is to contribute to the establishment of an innovative, entrepreneurial, international and sustainable system that is capable of promoting the economic, social, civil and cultural growth of the country. Assocalzaturifici is part of the European Footwear Confederation and is a regular member of Confindustria. In March 2017 it joined Confindustria Moda, the federation which brings together the businesses and associations in the fashion textiles sector and the complementary ambassadors of the excellences of Italian manufacturing.

Assocalzaturifici - Trade Association for Italian Shoemakers (Z1248)-9

Sustainability, education & training and internationalisation: Siro Badon,
the new Assocalzaturifici chair,

explains the guidelines of his mandate

Siro Badon, the new Assocalzaturifici chair

Increasing the focus on sustainability, with communication campaigns and targeted actions, requesting tax exemption for new samples and education and training activities, and establishing a scientific committee for MICAM.

This is the vision of the new Chair, with modernisation and continuity, ever at the service of the footwear businesses.

The Assocalzaturifici General Meeting, which met in Milan this morning during the Assembly of Confindustria Moda, proclaimed Siro Badon, of shoe manufacturer De Robert, as the Chair of Assocalzaturifici for the 2019-2023 four-year period.

The newly elected Chair has outlined a few policies that will steer his mandate: Made in Italy, innovation in the industry, sustainability of the production cycle, focus on the world of trade fairs and dialogue with the institutions: these were just some of the aspects highlighted in his speech.


Mr Badon’s policy speech placed the emphasis on innovation, understood both as product research & development and as a focus on education and training and on the need for institutions to do their bit to make it effective, with tax relief and targeted actions.

Research, in particular, characterised by both new production techniques and creativity and fashion content for the creation of new samples, plays a strategic role in the realm of goods made in Italy and must be subject to tax exemption and relief.

Training and education is also strategic in order to prevent the loss of professionalism and to make sure the next generation enters the industry with modern skills: to this effect, the Association aims to be the driver of policies for the transfer of skills between the regions and to foster ever-closer relations with Universities and higher technical institutes.

Regional resources, requested through hard lobbying in Italy and Europe, and an increased focus on interprofessional funds shall be the tools giving concrete expression to Assocalzaturifici’s action on the matter of the industry’s professionalisation.

The new chair also reaffirmed the desire to strengthen the association’s network of relations in Italy and to deploy targeted actions through research and innovation plans and projects, including as part of the new EU programme for 2021-2027 in partnership with CEC (European Confederation of the Footwear Industry).


Mr Badon reminded those present of how sustainability is one of the biggest challenges of the future, given consumers’ growing sensitivity to this theme, but also considering the need for businesses to save resources, cut down on waste and optimise energy supply.

According to the new chair, it has now become essential for this reason to draw up a strategic plan, in which CIMAC, Research & Development and Education and Training will play a fundamental role within Assocalzaturifici, to help reduce environmental impact and step up the circular economy approach in the fashion industry. The association will also be busy with a communication campaign diffused through international trade fair events, but not only.

In the context of production certification, Mr Badon reaffirmed, in particular, the role of CIMAC as one of the fundamental assets when it comes to the quality of production. He also observed how it should be strengthened, including through cross-cutting partnerships in the fashion industry to build an even more effective network of synergies and services for businesses.


With regard to market strategies, the newly elected chair announced that the trade fair policies and internationalisation activities will be supported and strengthened, in partnership with the ITA, through promotional and trade missions, scouting on the markets and incoming buyer programmes to present the assets of the Italian footwear industry to international customers: history, tradition, savoir faire, but above all savoir vivre, the Italian way of life.

He then reasserted the Association’s support to promote attendance of the Member Companies at foreign events, with a view to consolidating and boosting the presence of Italian companies on the various markets.

In the context of trade fairs, Mr Badon reminded those present that MICAM is the world’s best showcase of shoes made by small-medium and large Italian companies, announcing the intention to establish a Technical and Scientific Committee made up of representatives from Confindustria Moda, experts from the fashion world, influencers, sociologists, industry consumption analysts and exhibitors. The Committee will constantly interact and discuss with the Chair to make attendance of companies and buyers at the event even more widespread and strategic.


Following on seamlessly from Assocalzaturifici’s activity over the recent years, the new Chair reaffirmed the commitment and presence of the association in the districts to share the problems of the entrepreneurs and work with them to identify common solutions.

Among the aspects of particular importance for the new chair is the lobbying concerning the importance of Italian-made goods in Italy, in the EU and in all other major footwear-producing countries, so that, with the support of the various industry organisations and Confindustria Moda, common policies and initiatives can be boosted to make the “made in...” label and certificate of product origin mandatory.

Assocalzaturifici’s lobbying with the various Italian and European institutions will focus on themes such as cutting the cost of work, in an ongoing collaboration with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economic Development, but also with ITA, SACE and SIMEST.


Siro Badon was born in Padua and joined the family business - Saonara-based shoe manufacturer De Robert Srl - in 1976, working with his father, who founded the company in 1955, and with his brother Roberto in production management. Later on, he was responsible for the administrative management of the company, of which he became the Chairman in 1986.

Since the 1990s, he has focused on the business area, establishing the company in Northern Europe and embarking on a number of trips to Asia, where he has signed important trade agreements in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

For achieving these objectives, which have consolidated De Robert on the international scene, he was awarded the “Marco Polo” prize by Unioncamere del Veneto in 2010, as recognition for the significant internationalisation achieved by a SME.

Among the roles held in institutions and his positions within associations, he was a member of the General Council of Confindustria Venezia Rovigo, he was on the Board of Governors of NeaFidi, Confindustria Padova, Confindustria Veneto, Politecnico Calzaturiero and, at a national level, he was Deputy Chair of Assocalzaturifici in charge of Education and Training for 8 years.

He has been Chair of the Consorzio Maestri Calzaturieri del Brenta [Consortium of Master Shoemakers of Brenta] (ACRiB) since 2011. In the same year, he was unanimously called upon to lead ACRiB, becoming the Consortium's Chair in the year of its 50th anniversary. To ensure its continuity for another 50 years, he has steered ACRiB on the fundamental pathway of system integration with Confindustria Venezia Area Metropolitana di Venezia e Rovigo, for which he is coming to the end of his term as the Chair of ACRiB-Footwear Division.

Milan, 26 June 2019

Assocalzaturifici -Trade Association for Italian Shoemakers (Z1247)-10
11 “stories” of Italian footwear businesses
Innovating as craftspeople:
a new book about family footwear businesses, edited by LIUC

Italy is a landmark for the footwear industry. It is the European Union's leading producer of shoes and ranks eleventh in the world for the number of pairs made. And many of its businesses are family-run. The latest book in the Università Cattaneo Libri series, published by Guerini Next, is dedicated to these family businesses. It is called “L’impresa calzaturiera di famiglia. Storie di una generazione che innova”, [“The family footwear business. Stories of an innovative generation”] and is edited by Valentina Lazzarotti (associate professor at the School of Industrial Engineering) and Federico Visconti (Rector of the Cattaneo-LIUC University).

In step with the last book dedicated to family businesses (“Family Up – Il giovane imprenditore tra continuità e cambiamento” [“Family Up – The young entrepreneur amidst continuity and change”]), the book is a journey to discover 11 examples of excellence in the industry. SMEs located in various areas of Italy (predominantly in the Marche region but also with companies based in Lombardy, Veneto, Campania and Tuscany), spanning all stages of the supply chain, from shoe-last manufacturers and tanneries to sole and heel manufacturers.

“The book,” explained Valentina Lazzarotti, “is the fruit of an initiative by the Assocalzaturifici trade association, whose aim, through this study, was to shine the spotlight on the sector’s centres of excellence, examining their dynamics and strategies.
On the one hand, there is an attempt to deal with the crisis by keeping costs down, including through process automation; on the other, there is the need to “remain craftspeople”, to guarantee beautiful Italian design, which makes these companies
invaluable partners for the big designer labels. The typical dynamics of family businesses fit into this context”.

In this regard, there are five categories of objectives guiding the choices of young entrepreneurs to innovate with respect to their predecessors. According to the specialist literature, these categories are typical of family businesses: family control of and influence on the business, identification and sense of belonging, attention to forging lasting relations with the various stakeholders, emotional loyalty and devotion among family members, desire to preserve the family dynasty.

These objectives take on a special meaning among the young people interviewed and are capable of setting in motion certain key factors of innovation (in terms of resource allocation, facilities and systems, and organisational learning). In turn, these create dimensions of innovation, which can be observed as changes in the way innovation itself is organised or in the results it produces (new products, new business models, new production processes, etc.)

“In addition to the choices made to manage innovation and besides its results,” continued Valentina Lazzarotti, “many other aspects surfaced from the cases examined, such as the internationalisation of these businesses, involvement of individuals from outside the family and the role of women at the top.”

The following businesses told their story in the book: Formificio STF, Conceria Sicerp, Suolificio Mannini Romano, Tacchificio Villa Cortese, Vittorio Virgili, Calzaturificio Gardenia, Missouri, Moda Di Fausto, Calzaturificio Brunate, Tedeschi Calzature and Loriblu.

“It would appear that the ‘way is being paved for innovation’ in the footwear industry,” explained the Rector, Federico Visconti, in the conclusion to the book, “the essential ingredients of which are to be found in the ways in which the critical factors behind innovative processes are activated, in the systematic opening to the contribution of third-party players, in the force linking measures taken to results achieved, in the quest to strike a new balance between the interests of the family that owns the business and the growth objectives of their business”.

“Our industry has always faced complex changes, but perhaps nowadays it finds itself addressing one of the greatest challenges: the paradigm shift towards a business logic which, while not neglecting the family origin, moves towards managerial forms, open to external collaboration and mindful of market development,” commented Annarita Pilotti, Assocalzaturifici Chair. “The encouraging snapshot of our industry offered by this book may therefore urge companies to change and offer them some strategies to consider.”

The development of knowledge in the area of family businesses is also providing the content for a new course at LIUC, called Family Business Management, as part of the three-year Bachelor’s degree in Business Economics, with specific training taught in English.

Milan, 26 June 2019

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