French shoe companies suffered an estimated 9.5 percent drop in their turnover during the first half of 2004, according to preliminary data, but their costs decreased as the country’s shoe production fell by an estimated 13.5 percent in volume during the period, leading to a 16.5 percent reduction in their workforce. French footwear exports rose by 16 percent in volume and by 11 percent in value during the 6-month period, with volume increases of 9 percent in Belgium, 3 percent in Germany, 73 percent in Italy, 56 percent in Spain and 2 percent in the USA. Higher average prices were obtained in all these markets except Italy and Spain, where values rose by 31 and 36 percent, respectively. Total imports in a relatively stable market grew by 18 percent in pairs and by 1 percent in value. Imports grew in volume by 5 percent from Italy, 37 percent from China, 11 percent from Vietnam, 6 percent from Spain and 5 percent from Portugal. Average import prices were down from all the sources, especially China, Vietnam and Spain. In terms of value, imports from China were up by only 2 percent while those from Vietnam and Spain dropped by 4 and 7 percent, respectively.