The Italian footwear company Manas opened its first a shop corner in Seoul as part of a commercial deal signed with Hyundai, the big Korean conglomerate. Under the agreement, the parties are due to open 16 Manas points of sale, stores and corners in the country by the end of 2012. The first one was inaugurated at the Hyundai Department Store.

Manas also intends to team up with local designers to create a specific line of shoes for the South Korean market, which is enjoying strong growth.

Manas closed 2008 with sales of €70 million, up by 6 percent compared with 2007. It achieved 30 percent of its turnover in Italy and 70 percent abroad. European Union countries, excluding Italy, represented 35 percent of sales and Russia 15 percent. The remainder was achieved in the U.S., Japan, China and Israel.

The company expects to enjoy an increase in revenues this year. Future growth is expected to be balanced between the domestic and international markets.

Manas started operating in 1956 as an export-oriented concern and only started developing its presence in Italy from 2002, when Cleto Sangripanti became chief executive. The company has an annual production of 1.5 million pairs of shoes, manufactured by third parties situated in the Italian region of Le Marche.

Manas has 19 single-brand stores (seven in Italy, four in Russia, four in China, one in Ukraine, one in Slovenia, one in Martinique and one in Kazakhstan) and eight showrooms (New York, Madrid, Tokyo, Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris, Munich and Copenhagen).