The recession that has seriously affected western European leather and leather product industries during the past two years appears to be improving. Simac 2004, the footwear and leathergoods machinery and component show held in Bologna, April 27-30, closed with suggestions of increased confidence within the footwear and leathergoods technology sectors.

The visitor numbers and overall visitor quality is up on last year. Indications from the show point towards a more positive outlook for the immediate future according to Simac fair organisers, Assomac.

They say that the number of American clients who have returned to Simac have increased as have the number of Turkish and Greek visitors. The number of visitors from Eastern European countries was also much higher than in previous editions.

A large delegation from China attended the fair, many for the first time. They showed great interest in how comprehensive the technology was at Simac. Other Asian delegations attending the show included delegates from Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Another country that is beginning to rebuild and relaunch their domestic footwear and leathergoods sector is Russia. A delegation attended Simac and showed great interest in the new technology on offer.

The problems facing the domestic footwear and leathergoods industries were highlighted once more with reduced numbers of ‘home’ visitors attending Simac. The industry appears to be in an ongoing a period of consolidation with many businesses withdrawing more and more into quality niches or striving to become competitive by relocating production elsewhere.

The Simac exhibition runs alongside the Lineapelle exhibition and takes place at the Bologna Fiere exhibition centre in Italy.