Anci, the association of Italian footwear manufacturers, has called for urgent action in reaction to negative trends in the industry. According to data provided by the Italian statistics institute and processed by Anci ‘s research department, the industry's export volumes fell by 10 percent in the first four months of 2012, compared with the same period in 2011. Thanks to a 15 percent gain in average prices, shoe exports grew in value by 3.5 percent during the period, but in the month of April alone, they fell by 6.5 percent in value and by 16.8 in volume, compared with April 2011.

Some emerging markets that had continued to grow in the midst of the crisis, such as Russia and Ukraine, showed a slowdown over the period. Others, such as China and the Far East, continued to register good performance.

The trade association called, in particular, for action in support of the Italian industry by public institutions, and notably for practical measures intended to reinforce again the role of the new export promotion agency set by the government. According to Anci, the agency's commitment is insufficient and its funding mechanisms are still unclear.

Cleto Sagripanti, who became president of Anci one year ago, has stated that Anci is not asking for public assistance but rather for more favorable conditions for the sector. It has been promoting the idea of an “alliance for growth” among public institutions, the private sectors, associations and banks. The latest Shoe Report, a research project conducted by Anci, recently showed that 84.7 percent of its member firms end up acting as a “bank” for delinquent customers, suffering twice as much from the credit crunch – because of the tightening of credit from the banks on the one hand, and delayed or missing payments from customers on the other.