Home Business War in Ukraine, the alarm of the footwear sector: “We have millions of euros in stock”

War in Ukraine, the alarm of the footwear sector: “We have millions of euros in stock”

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War in Ukraine, the alarm of the footwear sector: “We have millions of euros in stock”

“Further proof of resilience for a sector that has already been beaten by the 2014 sanctions and that was just recovering from the effects of the pandemic.” Siro Badon, president of Assocalzaturifici, thus describes the difficult moment facing the companies in the sector due to the sanctions against Russia for the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Turning around the stands of exhibitors at Micam (International footwear exhibition), starting today at Fiera Milano in Rho, everyone underlines the importance that the Russian market had for their business: 20-30% of the total for some but for others even reaches 80%. The facts are that it is not known if the shoes shipped will be paid for and the shoes in the warehouses, ready to be sold, are stopped due to the uncertainty of orders that could become waste paper. A wait that only looking at the numbers can give the extent of the damage. According to the data released by Assocalzaturifici during the Micam, Russia is worth 2.7% of exports for the Italian footwear market. In 2021, 3.5 million pairs of shoes made in Italy were sold in Russia, with a turnover of about 250 million, in Ukraine 450,000 pairs with a turnover of 36 million. “To the policy that tells us to look for alternative markets, I ask you to tell us which ones – adds Badon – America is very difficult, China is closed, like Japan, Korea is suffering, Northern Europe does not talk about it, only the ‘Africa. Not to mention that it takes decades to build a market ».

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There are also territories that more than others are suffering from this situation, among which the Marche region certainly stands out. According to Cna data, exports from the Marche to Russia are worth 111.9 million euros in footwear, textiles and clothing. The exports of companies from the Marche region to Ukraine are worth 36.7 million in fashion products. Among the Marche entrepreneurs in difficulty we find Marino Fabiani, who since 1992 has found the main customer for his business in the Russian market: “The Russians have always paid, they have never left anything behind – explains Fabiani, who has a company in Fermo with 32 employees, highly specialized craftsmen – We have a blocked production, we have no job prospects, as well as production to be delivered ready and firm because at the current exchange rate of the ruble it costs double. The damage of the sanctions is already irreparable because we will not be back to work in two months. We have millions of euros of goods in stock, the Russian market was worth 80 percent of my business ». Fabiani is not the only one. “30 percent of my turnover referred to the Russian market, for us it is a big damage – explains Luca Guerrini, who has a company in Montegranaro, the heart of the Marche footwear district – we are all waiting to understand what the solutions will be. problems related to foreign exchange, the difficulty of making payments through banks, including the blocking of credit cards. The more you go on, the more the season becomes advanced and we will no longer sell those shoes, counting the weeks of time it takes for the transport, in addition to the unknown customs clearance. We are, in fact, facing a liquidity that does not fall ».

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However, the Marches are not the only ones to suffer the impact of the sanctions. For example, the Artioli company in Tradate, in the province of Varese, with 40 employees, produces and sells shoes for an average of 1,500 euros, which have enchanted Hollywood actors, such as George Clooney and Sean Penn, and even if over time its footwear has spread all over the world «the export to the Russian market in any case weighs 30% – says Andrea Artioli – it was a reference market for luxury where the Italian artisan product of excellence was sought. We make 50 shoes a day. Sanctions weigh much more for us, for our products, than the impact they can have in other European countries. In Ukraine we also had a single-brand store in Kiev, obviously closed, and we served about 5 multi-brand stores ». The entrepreneurs in politics are now asking for refreshments, layoffs for employees, help with banks and then “the possibility of surviving because, even if the factory is stopped, the taxes go on” they explain.

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