The volume of Italian footwear exports fell by 14.4 per cent year-on-year in the first five months of 2005 according to the latest figures from Italian footwear manufacturers' association ANCI.

By value, exports dropped 4.3 pct drop in the January to May period compared with the same months in 2004.

In contrast, footwear imports from China rose 54 per cent in value and 6.3 per cent in volume during the same period. A total of 153 million pairs of shoes were sourced from China ANCI said.

Within this, imports of Chinese-made leather shoes jumped 162 per cent, with walking shoes up 300 per cent and sandals soaring by 913 per cent.
 
In the first six months of 2005, more than 600 Italian footwear companies shut down and more than 5,350 have been axed ANCI added.