114 ITALIAN COMPANIES GO TO RUSSIA

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