Obuv Mir Kozhi, which is about to kick off in Moscow tomorrow, is likely to turn out to be very complicated, owing to difficulties that are affecting Italy’s exports towards the Russian market. Over 200 footwear and leather goods companies, coming from 13 countries, are going to exhibit their winter collections during the fair, on its 51st edition. Around 12,000 visitors are expected to show up at the event, which is due to close the stands on Friday. 114 Italian footwear manufacturers will participate in the fair. “We are not placing very good expectations. The main problem is that medium customers are turning fewer and fewer”, remarks Arturo Venanzi, supervisor of Laboratorio Russia and CSI countries at Assocalzaturifici. “At present boutiques and department stores (which usually purchase in advance), alongside supply chains for medium and low products, most of all, take part in the exhibition. Furthermore, the fair takes place at the end of the season, whereas a few years ago it used to be on the agenda in the middle of the season, and proved to be an important landmark for medium clients. However, buyers, even though they bring smaller orders, are still fascinated by made in Italy products, and would not want to give them up”. Points out Massimo Cerutti, from Cerutti shoe factory: “The overall market has been imploding. The economic situation has been getting worse nearly everywhere: consequently, shopping and sales turned stagnant. As for Russia, without exception, they must deal with tensions and financial sanctions”. Likewise, Lara Verdecchia, from Luca Verdi’s brand, comments about the general situation and the fair problems: “I am rather optimistic because we are going to present our winter collection, which is the most important for the Russian market, and the one they like the best, still I remain quite cautious”.