MILAN, July 31 Italy's shoemaker Geox
is expecting sales to further decline this year after an
economic downturn in Europe weighed on its first-half earnings.
The maker of "no-sweat" shoes said on Tuesday sales fell 4
percent to 429 million euros in the six months to the end of
June, in line with its expectations, as bleak economic
conditions in Europe keep buyers out of the stores.
"As previously announced, the second half of the year is
proving to be difficult due to the economic downturn of the
Europe's Mediterranean countries where the contraction in
consumption is most widespread and in the wholesale channel,"
Mario Moretti Polegato, chairman and founder of Geox, said in a
Geox said the distribution network was holding stocks of
products from the previous autumn-winter collection, lowering
orders for the 2012 fall-winter season.
The company, which has a free cash flow of 32.3 million
euros, is expanding its retail presence in emerging markets to
limit its exposure to Italy, its main market accounting for 36
percent of sales.
(Reporting by Antonella Ciancio)