More quality and less quantity. A path that the Italian footwear industry has already been following for a few seasons, but that re-confirms itself in the first 9 months of 2018. More quality, because the made-in-Italy shoe has had record value of exports, in the first 8 months of the year: +3.7% in comparison to the same period in 2017, and almost reaches 6.5 billion euro in value. But, less quantity, because from January to August of 2018, the pairs sold abroad decreased by 3.1%, to 143.6 million pairs, and because the result of the market research conducted by Centro Studi di Confindustria Moda for Assocalzaturifici, explain that production decreased by 2.4% in the first 9 months of the year, with a more marked 5% decrease in the July-September period. Only sneakers sell well in Italy, and it is in fact the only segment currently growing. The situation abroad is more complex: China, Switzerland, USA and Canada performing well; poor perfromances from Middle East, Japan, Holland, France, Spain, and most of all, Russia. After a partial recovery in 2017, Moscow is once again giving Italy the cold shoulder: in the first 8 months of 2018, volume decreased 11.3%, with an additional -9.6% in the first semester. “The current levels in this area are still less than 50% of what they were before the crisis in 2013 – states Annarita Pilotti, president of Assocalzaturifici -, and that explains the difficult challenges that businesses that have always sold in this market, and countries part of the CIS, are now facing”. The reference goes to compnies in the Marche and Emilia-Romagna regions. At a demographic level, 120 shoe-factories have closed from January to September of 2018, while 314 employees were laid off, in comparison to December 2017’s data. If we factor in the components’ segment for the footwear industry, the balance is of -212 companies and -672 employees. The situation in the Marche region is even worse, with 103 businesses closed and 832 less employees in the region alone.