UK: Footwear Firms Fight Back Despite Fierce Competition
The British Footwear Association (BFA) says that, despite increasing pressure from foreign competitors, the British footwear market is fighting back."British footwear manufacturing continues to experience fierce price pressures and the continuing weakness of the Euro compounds this. Price cutting in the British high street on footwear and clothing is at record levels, and of course suppliers have to pay for the sale discounts. The British safety footwear market has been hit by the decline in overall UK manufacturing and by an inrush of imports at unsustainable prices," said Niall Campbell, chief executive of the BFA."British footwear exports are holding up well and the industry is working harder than ever to win international orders. The British group at GDS this month is a record size - 48 exhibitors - and the contingent at Las Vegas in August was also a record. For the first time, BFA took a group of footwear exporters to Motexha in Dubai in late September and we also have a group at Midec in Paris. "The prospects are good for there being even larger groups at even more overseas shows in 2001. The British footwear industry has great, internationally competitive strengths in certain parts of the market. Britain is producing many of the liveliest and most innovative young footwear designers, and the UK is very strong in the youth/street fashion market. The industry is also doing well in niche markets, such as wedding shoes and high quality children's footwear."Though the industry faces extremely testing competitive pressures, it is more than willing to rise to the challenge," he concluded.
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