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Assocalzaturifici´s three answers to the crisis in Russia
ImageUpon conclusion of the events organised by Assocalzaturifici in the CIS area (Russia and Kazakhstan), the Association confirms its intention of continuing to focus on this strategic market for Italian-made footwear. Unfortunately, however, there is still a lot of concern about a geopolitical and economic situation that seems to have no ready solution and has inevitably had repercussions on orders.

“We've come back from the events in the Russian area with a lot of uncertainty and concern about the complicated situation there, which seems to be stagnating," says Assocalzaturifici president Cleto Sagripanti. „The competitiveness and strategies of individual companies working alone may not be sufficient, which is why Assocalzaturifici intends to continue investing in the area, supporting its member enterprises as this difficult time continues and encouraging debate about launching a bold, effective strategy in response. The keys to our actions are: staying on the market to monitor the evolution of the situation from within and placing our bets on the events we have been organising in the area for years, introducing supporting initiatives which are as precisely targeted as possible, for instance by focusing on highly qualified incoming operators. The active support of ITA - the Italian Trade Agency - is indispensable as a key to strategy and structural investment in the Italian economy”.

According to the figures on Italian exports to the CIS area, the period January/November 2014 saw a 19.9% drop in sales by quantity, 22.4% by value, with a sales figure of 8.1 million pairs (3 million less than the same time period in 2013), worth more than 606 million euro. Though negative, these figures still confirm the importance of this market for many Italian footwear makers, even at a time when it is shrinking.

In response to the difficulties still present on the market, during the last edition of Obuv’ Mir Koži, Assocalzaturifici, Bologna Fiere and ITA – Agency invested significantly in incoming selected buyers and top clients, setting up a VIP Lounge with special services just for them: the results of the initiative were positive, consolidating the event's role as a unique business opportunity indispensable for Italian companies wanting to maintain their market share in the area. The edition which closed recently – in which Assocalzaturifici brought 135 footwear and leather goods companies to Russia – was a true litmus paper at this delicate time in the country, continuing to offer Italian companies a unique showcase in the CIS area.

“The results of the events in Obuv and Almaty are not surprising," says Ronny Bigioni, Coordinator of Assocalzaturifici's team for the Russian market. "We were expecting the continuing situation of stagnation in the area to have an impact on the events we organise. But despite this, we decided not to give up, but to continue investing all our energy and resources in two essential events for footwear and leather goods companies, representing a crossroads for top level business meetings and discussions”.

Despite the signals of weakness also registered in Kazakhstan, the Association considers Shoes from Italy Almaty a key strategic opportunity for attracting and meeting buyers in the area, taking into account the recent cancellation of Shoes from Italy Kiev. Almaty is in fact a key hub not only for the country but for the entire Central Asian market for both the Association and its member companies.


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