Shoe industry grows

PORTUGUESE SHOE production was up by 4.5 per cent on 2006, despite the difficult economic climate.

The encouraging figures reverse years of decline and are owed, in part, to dynamic new marketing strategies unveiled at the world’s largest fashion shoe fair in Milan, the MICAM Shoevent.

According to Eurostat, the European Union’s statistical office, both Spain and Italy, who are Portugal’s main European competitors, have seen revenues and production output fall in 2007 while Portugal registered increased sales.

Fortunato Frederico, spokesperson for the Portuguese Footwear Federation, said that the about turn in Portugal’s shoe fortunes showed that “Portugal was able to face the future with increased confidence and to bet increasingly on the international market.”

Angola, China, Japan and Russia are the new target markets for the Portuguese shoe industry, while the United Kingdom continues to be one of the most successful existing markets.

Trendy British shoe designers are opting for Portugal to produce designer shoes in Guimarães, Felgueiras and São João de Madeira.

Portugal is today the second largest footwear exporter in the European Union after Italy, with 1,350 shoe companies employing 55,000 workers producing around 110 million pairs of shoes in 2006-7.

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