Gallery Shoes went as expected. Few visitors and very limited orders for the German fair, which closed on Tuesday. But there are also those who see it from another point of view. In other words, the show gave producers and buyers the opportunity to meet and see new products. Meanwhile, the German shops, closed since before Christmas, are exhausted. Obviously, online sales are growing, especially those of comfortable shoes: ballet flats, moccasins, sandals and low heels.
Gallery Shoes as expected
“Impossible to expect anything different. Even customers within walking distance of the Düsseldorf exhibition centre did not come to avoid the swab stress and the risk of contagion”, says Samuele Camerlengo of Lorenzi shoe factory. “We saw few customers and very few orders due to inventories.
The mood of the buyers is low. They are waiting for the reopening of shops (mid-May? End of May?, ed.) when they expect a good recovery in sales”. According to Giovanna Ceolini of Parabiago Collezioni (Thierry Rabotin brand) “it was a courageous initiative that had to deal with the prolonged closure of shops. The organisation is perfect from a health point of view, which has made the salon a safe place, demonstrating that fairs held in this way can and must be held”.
For Ceolini, some customers, very cautious in terms of orders, were only seen on the opening day, Sunday. Sara Galli of Brunate shoe factory and Fabio Fonti of ViolaFonti also talked the same about a fair that met the very low expectations of the eve.
If Gallery Shoes went as expected, it is also because German stores still have a lot of goods in stock (unsold winter and all summer). And they don’t know for sure when they will be able to reopen. The president of BDSE (the federal association of German footwear retailers), Brigitte Wischnewski, spoke of “desperate” shoe retailers. Every month that stores are closed, around 700 million euros in sales are lost. Only the online business is growing, whose market share has risen from 26% to 34% according to BDSE calculations, which estimated a 13.5% decline in the volume of the German footwear market in 2020.
Matters of style
But, however little, what shoes do they sell? “Low heels, bright colours and a comfortable fit. Ballet flats, slippers and moccasins are particularly on trend,” explains Gallery Shoes fashion expert Karolina Landowski. Claudia Schulz of the Deutschen Schuhinstitut in Offenbach emphasises, however, that flat sandals borrowed from trekking often find a place in collections. Even if “what cannot be missing this season are sneakers”.
Photo by Calzaturificio Lorenzi