Milan’s Micam trade show optimistic, but delay deters UK attendees

The Micam shoe fair was held at the Fiera Milano Rho in Milan from September 18th to 20th. It drew 35,470 attendees throughout the three-day event, up 20% from the previous season, when it drew 29,468 attendees after rescheduling its dates from February to March, due to requests “market and industry operators”. The last fair before the pandemic, in February 2020, welcomed 40,850 visitors.

Micam was again combined with the leather goods and accessories fair Mipel, the jewelry fair The One Milano and the exhibition Homi Fashion and Jewels. The shows shared the cavernous Fiera Milano Rho exhibition grounds in a collaboration that began in September 2020 in the wake of the pandemic.

Caroline Ekstrom, director of east London-based high-end fashion agency Oldstrom, exhibited at Micam with German shoe brand Kennel & Schmenger. She said the show was “really positive” and “people are excited to be back”.

“We had a very successful show, we were non-stop on the stand with a lot of appointments. We saw UK retailers Jules B in Newcastle upon Tyne, Daniel Footwear and Pampas in Glasgow. We also had Irish, Northern and [Republic of] Ireland.

“We signed seven new clients on [the] Sunday,” she continued, “more than we did last season. We had people stopping constantly, that was really positive. People are delighted to be back, both to see people and to exchange.

Helen Dobson, owner of The Shoe Gallery in Prestwick, Ayrshire, agreed. “Micam was fabulous, there was such a buzz. The halls were full of visitors. It was busier than I had seen in a long time.

Despite concerns over the energy crisis, Dobson said it was not stopping buying activity and so his order size had not decreased from last season.

“Micam gives me access to everything that’s been produced, there’s no way I can get that just from the UK,” she explained. “You can’t judge a shoe until you try it on. The feel is the most essential part, and it gives me access to many labels in one area. »

However, despite the show being “full” of people writing orders and buying, Dobson said it was mainly European visitors and there weren’t many UK attendees.

Carl Barratts, sales agent for the women’s shoe brand Mou, which was exhibiting at Micam, agreed. He said the show was “busy”, but packed with German, Dutch and Italian visitors. Barratts saw only one UK customer, independent shoe retailer Schuberts, in Barnes, south-west London.

“It’s disappointing. If you look at the mix of brands, there’s no real presence in the UK. Micam is more of a European and international show,” he said.

He cited one of the reasons for the lack of a UK presence as the show’s late hours. “I’ve been selling since mid-June,” he explains. “Europe is closed for most of August, so European countries work later. For European buyers, this definitely works, but our lead times do not match Europe. We have early deliveries and pre-collections. [buyer] budgets, we have to show [collections] back in June. In terms of timing, Micam is really too late for the UK market.

Julian Blades, managing director of luxury independent Jules B, said he was disappointed to see “very few” UK manufacturers at Micam, and attributed this to the industry needing to cut costs.

“There were few UK buyers and a noticeable absence of UK suppliers,” he said. “There were a lot of Italian and European brands that didn’t translate to the English market. There is a lot of trepidation: retailers are expecting a very difficult 12 months and are looking to cut costs wherever they can. The price of the exhibition is prohibitive and the hotel costs are ridiculous, especially if you take a team there. Micam needs to entice small businesses to come back, those that can’t afford the prices. It’s a well organized show, you can’t fault that, but people have to watch the costs.

A shoe agent said he had noticed the presence of buyers from Ireland but not from the UK, and added that the Micam was “increasingly becoming a local show”.

Chris Gorrod, chief executive of Brevitt Rieker, the UK arm of German shoemaker Rieker Group, said he did not attend Micam this year, although the group did.

He explained: “The main reason is that very few UK or Irish customers are attending the show now. For anyone who did, we had a representative from our group who could help them.

“We see most of our customers here in the UK or Ireland, with the relevant ranges, so that being the case, it’s not cost effective to spend another four or five days in Milan to potentially only see some customers who have already seen the ranges in the UK and/or Ireland.”

Stephen Joseph, country manager of women’s shoe brand Caprice, also did not attend Micam, unlike his colleagues. He said: “The show was very well attended and we opened many new accounts overall, but very few UK buyers attended.

“With Caprice, we start selling in early June and our showroom schedule has been full. We will finish next weekend at the showroom and then we will be done with the season,” he added.

Giovanna Ceolini, acting president of Assocalzaturifici, the Italian Shoe Manufacturers Association which organizes Micam, told Drapers: “In this edition we had four British exhibitors and we hope there will be a higher return. in future seasons given the success of the event. The figures show a significant recovery in the markets. England is the fifth [largest] export market, [it accounts for] 26% in value and 9.9% in quantity. At Micam, England was among the first countries to visit, so we are happy with the result.

The next edition of Micam will be held from February 19 to 21, 2023.


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