Tuscany, fashion system drives exports




The most significant sector by value of exports in Tuscany is the fashion system, with 8.3 billion euros in foreign sales in the first six months of the year. This is what emerges from the "Tuscany Districts Monitor," prepared by Intesa Sanpaolo's Research and Studies Department. The overall picture sees Tuscany's district specializations and technology clusters showing high competitiveness in international markets, despite a slowdown in demand starting in the second quarter, reaching 15.3 billion euros (+8 percent over the first half of 2022). For the coming months, forecasts do not bode well for the same brilliance observed in the previous two years, partly due to rising geopolitical tensions. However, the high competitiveness and positioning oriented toward the high-end, give hope of remaining close to 2022 export levels.

Fashion, with its 8.3 billion euros in exports, is the leading export sector, albeit slightly down on 2022. A figure mainly linked to leather goods and footwear in Florence, with 3.3 billion euros in exports in the first six months (-261.8 million; -7.4 percent), and the Empoli clothing district, with 1.3 billion euros (-58.6 million; -4.4 percent). However, for these specializations, which are strongly embedded in the luxury sector, the 'distortion' created by distribution policies should be taken into account: both the clothing sector and the leather supply chain show major contractions in sales to Switzerland (logistics hub) and at the same time greater flows to France (nation of origin of the main players) and to Asian markets (especially China), which were probably not served directly before.

The Santa Croce tanning and footwear district achieved 386 million euros in exports, down slightly from the first half of 2022: however, the good performance of sales to France did not compensate for lower sales to Spain, the United States and the Republic of Korea. Still, the attractiveness of the district remains, which in May saw the official announcement of LVMH's acquisition of a majority stake in the Nuti Ivo tannery, one of the Pisan district's main players. Prato's textiles and apparel is slightly behind on 2022 (-4.1 percent), while the good performance of Arezzo's goldsmiths continues with +5.6 percent in both the first and second quarters. Significant growths also for the Arezzo districts of the leather industry (+15.5 percent) and textile-clothing (+8.8 percent).

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