Filanto Store, the retailing arm of the Italian shoe maker Filanto, is seeking to expand its retail network in central and Northern Italy. The group currently has nine directly managed points of sale and 15 in franchising, largely located in Southern Italy, especially in Puglia, where Filanto has its industrial base.

The group will open three stores in franchising by the end of the year, all located in Southern Italy, and aims to open 20 stores next year, entirely in the country’s central and northern regions. Ultimately, Filanto is seeking to expand its retail network to 100 stores.

The company said the current crisis is creating opportunities to recruit franchisees, but deals are often difficult to carry out because candidates frequently cannot obtain bank guarantees because of the credit crunch.

Filanto produces about 4 million pairs of shoes in Italy and abroad. Its stores sell about 300,000 pairs annually for a retail value of €5 million. The shops sell the group’s brands Filanto, Filograna and Phil Hunt, which have retail prices ranging from €49 to €85.