Centergross, Italy’s most important fast fashion pole and one of the biggest districts of Europe, is at risk after the recent stop imposed by the government as measure for containing the coronavirus health emergency.
The pole has expressed its complaint to the Italian government two weeks after the decrees that imposed the closing of all stores and productive activities of the country.
The center occupies a million square meter area near Bologna, Funo d’Argelato, Italy. It hosts about 600 companies that represent over 400 different fashion brands. It employs 6,000 direct workers and as many indirectly, and generates an overall yearly turnover of more than €5 billion. It was founded in 1977 and received visits from thousands of buyers daily of which 60% come from Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
Different renowned brands such as Imperial, Rinascimento, Kaos Group, Kontatto, Vicolo, Souvenir, Susy Mix, Successori Bernagozzi, Tiemme Export and Ovyè originate from this area and launched actual saving proposals to the Italian government asking help in terms of immediate liquidity and extensions for payments and taxes.
“In order to restart we need to follow clear guidelines,” said Federico Ballandi, owner of Kontatto, a 60 employee-company that registered a €23 million turnover in 2019. “A solution could be that of canceling VAT and contribution to be given to the State, while we companies could make discounts on our garment selection. What counts is that the value chains starts marching again and costs for enterprises are cut down. Fashion is an added value that Italy cannot lose.”
Gianluca Santolini, owner of Susy Mix, a company that counts 50 employees and €32 million turnover in 2019, said: “We cannot stand still but shall get technology’s support, for instance, through e-commerce. Therefore we ask the State to put at our disposal subsidized financing and fiscal bonuses for investments on digital.”
“We need financing for the whole productive value chains,” said Marco Calzolari, owner of Kaos, a group that employs 91 people and counts €50 million yearly revenues. “This way we can pay our suppliers and support our clients, retailers who, like us, are heavily suffering. We produce goods that are as perishable as the ones from the food industry as they are seasonal and live from the moment. The State will have to support true Made in Italy because craftsmanship has a priceless value no one can compete with. For this the State has to prize Italian enterprises.”
“Our center has guaranteed prosperity to the companies of this area and to the territory,” explained Piero Scandellari, president of Centergross. “It has been a strong recall for international buyers, it reached important revenues and guaranteed over 6,000 jobs directly and as many indirectly. Today this excellence of Made in Italy risks to collapse and we have to do everything in order to save it. We are asking the government for the necessary instruments for contrasting a crisis that might reach an irreparable size.”