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News In Brief . . . • Wortmann sees sales rising by 14% • Deckers want to acquire a global lifestyle brand • Latest data on the Chinese industry

Prada breaks the 2 billion euro barrier. Prada booked a 31% increase in

sales to E2.045 billion in the fiscal year ended January, thanks mainly to its booming sales in Asian markets, which went up by 48%. Revenues rose by 10% in Europe and by 29% in the US.

Retail sales rose by 44%, with a 22% increase in comparable stores

sales. The group ended the financial year with 319 stores. Wholesale revenues were also stronger. This preliminary data came ahead of the expected flotation later this year of the Italian fashion house on the Honk Kong stock exchange, where Prada hopes to obtain a higher valuation than in Europe. The initial public offering is expected to value Prada at about 6 billion euros.

Geox has launched a new advertising campaign aimed at harmonising

its image across six product lines, as well as stressing its Italian origins and technology. It replaced a short-lived campaign focusing on the theme of Geox being a “second skin” which has been dismissed by the company’s founder and chairman, Mario Moretti Polegato, as being too bland and not highlighting the group’s technology.

The new umbrella campaign will be used for Geox’s original

“breathing” shoes with waterproof leather soles as well as its apparel, its new waterproof Amphibiox shoe collection, its performance shoes with Net System technology and its toning shoes, called Energy Walk. It aims to convey the technological qualities of Geox’s shoes, an image of fashion and Italian design.

The group has also signed a series of sports sponsorship agreements

to reinforce its presence in the youth segment and boost its image as a developer of shoes with a technological edge. From this season, Geox will supply shoes using its Net System technology, which is aimed at reducing perspiration in intense conditions, to the Red Bull Formula One team.

L4 Leather is the new representative in Ireland for Jacobson

Footwear, replacing Kevin Cooke, who has retired after 50 years in the footwear industry. Damien Mahon will handle Jacobson’s products for L4 Leather, which is led by John McHugh. Amongst the Jacobson brands in Ireland are Odeon, Trueform, Manfield, Dunlop, Lonsdale and Glitterati, a new high-fashion brand.

Moda Footwear, held in Birmingham Feb 20-22 boasts that this year’s

event featured the biggest line-up of brands ever, with a mix of contemporary, classic and directional footwear. The American brand Original Penguin made its debut at the UK’s largest footwear trade show, as did children’s brand Pippo, and the eco-label Po-Zu showed its recyclable shoes and boots it offers in collaboration with Timberland. Other brands of men’s, women’s and children’s shoes showing at this year’s event included Deakins, Sperry Topsider, Keds, Tommy Hilfiger, Geox, Rockport, Kickers, CAT Footwear, Base London, Blowfish Malibu, Iron Fist, Bronx, Fly London, Skechers, Pippo and Hush Puppies. British Heritage brands were on display as well, such as Barkers, Cheaney and Loake. The British Footwear Association also debuted its “Made In Britain” initiative, showing off some of the UK’s best footwear manufacturers.

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Anti - Dumping Duty The legal formality to remove Anti-Dumping Duty from 1 April 2011 was

completed and the BFA has received a copy of the Commission Notice confirming the demise of ADD.

The European Commission again refers to monitoring imports of

footwear with uppers of leather originating in China and Vietnam and of imports of footwear with uppers of leather consigned from Macao, but no formal licensing or import registration requirements are being introduced.

Richard Kottler – Chief Executive, British Footwear Association Ltd.


Latest data on the Chinese industry

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has put out

figures for the leather industry in the first 10 months of 2010, reporting that sales of leather and leathergoods rose in values by 28.6% compared with the same time period in 2009. Leather was up by 19.9% to 598,806 square metres, leather footwear grew by 23.3% to 3.5 billion pairs: leather apparel rose by 13.6% to 53,672 million units and hide production was up by 43.5% to 24,325 million. The figures were announced at the International Leather Forum in Sao Paulo, where Gustavo Quiljano, the executive director of Cotance, noted that China’s market share for hide imports worldwide had jumped to 22.7% in 2008, up from 14% in 2002.

Regionally, shoe exports from Guandong rose by 24.4% in the first 10 months of 2010, slower than the average growth in that province. Exports to the EU and the US, which made by 59.5% of Guandong’s total, fell by 1.2% in the January-October period. The Chinese Leather Industry Association attributed the drop to rising costs of labour and production, the appreciation of the yuan, increasing anti-dumping duties for exports to various countries and more competitive rivals in other countries.

Lui Huilong, executive vice president of Guangdong footwear

Association, pointed out that rural areas represent a huge market for a potential Guangdong expansion.

The CLIA has also reported that the city of Quanzhou exported footwear

worth more than $2.9 billion last year, accounting for half of the total exports from Fujian province and 10% of Chinese footwear exports. The average unit price was 21.3% higher than in 2009.

In Wenzhou province, the footwear industry creates $10.7 billion of annual output value and accounts for one-third of local GDP. CLIA said. However, a lot of producers there are relocating or shutting down entirely because of increased costs of production and land, according to a reportfrom the Wenzhou government. It also said that the investment in the region’s footwear section dropped by 45.8% in the first nine months of 2009. The industry used to be 6,000 shoemakers strong; that figure has dropped to 2,000. Many have moved some of their production out of the country, including Belle and Aokang, saying it is a trend in the country’s industrial development.

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