THE COVID STORM FROM DIFFICULTIES TO RELAUNCH

With the online #PLAYfashion events, Expo Riva Schuh and Gardabags aim to make an active contribution towards the re-launch of the fashion system, especially that of the volume footwear and accessories sectors. Keeping the relationship alive between all those involved, continuing to listen to the market and enhancing the spread of useful and vital information therefore become fundamental elements of the mission of this new informative, training challenge offered by Expo Riva Schuh and Gardabags. They held a webinar on the July 22nd 2020 that featured Aqeel Ahmed, Chairman Council for leather exports who shared his views on strategies that Indian footwear sector would pursue. Ms. Claudia Schulz, Freelance Journalist and spokesperson for the German Association of the Footwear and Leather goods Industry asked Aqeel Ahmed on what strategic path would India focus on: domestic or to target global markets. Aqeel Ahmed said, “India’s domestic consumption is huge, almost 90% of India’s footwear is consumed domestically but definitely export is a great opportunity for us. I believe the business needs some correction. Today, many cheaper versions of products are available to the customer.

And if you observe, the global market has been flooded with cheaper products. Presently, there is low demand. The industry would grow once the demand for the products is back. Once the demand comes the industry would be back however surely the customer would demand value now. There have been a lot of learnings, including my own company, we learnt that we need to have a correction in our business. We have been sitting at home for the last three months, only dreaming for a better future. Now,its time to get back to work and put the thoughts that we been dwelling upon to build a better future. Indian government has been proactive and kept the covid in control. In the past few years, the govt. has implemented lots of reforms. Three years back taxation reforms happened. GST was introduced which helped to put the industry in a better system both for domestic and for export. Today, is a difficult time. But I am confident India would emerge stronger. We are aiming to be self-reliant, and with many bilateral trade agreements we expect to build a stronger economy.”

The other panellist at the session were João Maia – General Manager of Apiccaps– Portugal, Claudia Schulz Freelance Journalist and spokesperson for the German Association of the Footwear and Leather goods Industry, Elvio Silvagni Chairman of Goldstar/Valleverde– Italy, Claudio Alessi – President Bata Europe, Stephan Krug – CEO of SABU Schuh Marketing Gmbh– Germany, Leticia Sperb Masselli – General Manager of Brazilian Footwear Project (Abicalçados) and Li Yuzhong – Chairman of Chinese Leather Industry Association (CLIA).

Preparing for a post-Covid-19 leather marketplace

The first episode of a two-part webinar series titled ‘Preparing for a post-Covid-19 global leather marketplace’, organised by ILM in partnership with global hide and leather supplier JBS Couros and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), was broadcasted on June 25, 2020 at 2pm UK time. The webinar, titled ‘How globally integrated supply chains can evolve to improve leather businesses in a post-Covid-19 world’, featured three high-profile speakers who represent different parts of the wider leather supply chain. Topics of discussion include the impact of the coronavirus crisis on supply chains and how they are likely to evolve post pandemic and how internationally operating businesses can respond to these changes.

Moderated by ILM Editor Isabella Griffiths, the webinar wasfeatured Aqeel Ahmed Panaruna, Chairman Council for Leather Exports. Aqeel Ahmed shared his views on the key trends in consumption and behaviour of the consumers. He said, “ In one of the recent studies it was mentioned that the consumers would definitely be conservative in spending. The study rightly mentioned that the market has been flooded with merchandise…there’s a surplus in the market of stocks, items like clothing, footwear as well as accessories. We have also observed that a lot of discounts are being offered. So definitely the market needs a correction. I believe India under Prime Minister Modi India has had an excellent control on COVID-19.We are very thankful of the medical fraternity in India who have been working relentlessly. Going forward I believe 2021 would be a great year. The consumer should be back.

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