July 31, 2012 / 3:55 PM / 5 years ago

Italy "no-sweat" shoemaker Geox sees lower 2012 on Europe woes

MILAN, July 31 (Reuters) - 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 statement.

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)

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