STOP – Thanks to the invasion ofUkraine by the Russia2022 was supposed to be the blackest year in the history of footwear stop it. And instead several companies have recorded an increase in the turnover generated by Russian exports compared to 2021.
The war that broke out between 24 and 25 February and its immediate consequences (collapse of the Russian currency and trade sanctions applied by the USA and Europe towards Moscow) sounded like the tolling of bells when they announce a funeral. 10 months later, the funeral was not only canceled but, in several cases, it was even avoided.
Because shoe sales have not collapsed as feared but have surprisingly grown compared to the previous year, and in some cases even compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019. There were several factors that overturned the ominous forecasts of February and March .
One is the quotation of the ruble, which from the peaks of almost 145 against the euro in March, has strengthened to an average of 60 from June onwards and up to last week. This has given impetus to Russian consumers who, finding the shutters of the boutiques of luxury brands closed, have flocked to the shops of the best known Italian brands that have not abandoned the market. But also in Russian chains that offer Italian shoes. The flight from Russia of the top luxury brands and other brands that made the decision to interrupt commercial relations with Moscow after the invasion of Ukraine has left free space on the market. Third factor: Russians have cut down on shopping abroad so they have spent more money in local shops. «A set of factors that has allowed us to withstand the impact of the consequences of the war and not collapse as feared» confirms Fabrizio Grassi, CEO of Aldo Bruè. However, Grassi underlines the maximum volatility of the Russian market, where the scenario can change radically in a very short time. «And this does not give us prospects, nor continuity» observes the entrepreneur himself who confirms the persistence of the problems and difficulties he encounters in collecting the receivables due to trade sanctions.
To explain the good performance of exports to Russia, especially of the best-known brands that have dominated the market for some time, Marino Fabiani brings up another factor: «The beautiful shoe, with a heel, is no longer on the market. And the requests have grown, benefiting the Italian brands». For Fabiani, in general, the increase in sales does not translate into a proportional gain due to the discounts granted to Russian buyers in the weeks following the war, the increases in raw material prices, the high energy cost and other factors that have penalized businesses firm and Italian.
«Ukrainian customers also continued to order. A stop to the war is what is needed» says Fabiani. Even the leather goods entrepreneurs are positive: «Sales are going well but I don’t think it’s due to the spaces left free by the brands. As for our articles present in the best shops» says Lorenzo Salvatelli of the Carlo Salvatelli brand. «Certainly the euro/ruble exchange has favored exports, even if now the scenario is changing. What is worrying is the inflation that will occur in the coming months. However we remain confident, trusting that the institutions and the Marche Region will continue to support our companies in the sale of products abroad».
Strong ruble pushes shoe sales in Russia. Firms from Fermano occupy the slices of the market left by the top brands