Limoni Grows With Biagi on Board
MILAN — It’s been all systems go since Stefano Biagi took his job as commercial director at the Limoni perfumery chain four months ago.

“What we’ve been focusing on are promotions and training of staff to make them proud of working for Limoni,” he explained from his company’s headquarters in Bentivoglio, just outside of Milan.

Biagi is keen to build up a faithful following among Limoni’s consumers, as well. To this end, he is concentrating on the perfumery chain’s fidelity card program — now 600,000-people strong. With these free cards, customers are eligible for price promotions and will receive Limoni’s monthly magazine.

Limoni executives have set their sights on expanding the chain’s reach, as well. The retailer currently has 350 stores domestically and expects to ratchet that figure up to 500 in two years’ time.

“There are two parts to the formula,” said Biagi. “There will be new shops and also acquisitions — always in cities of 500,000 people on average.

“Our formula is to have shops in good places, with a good amount of space and accessibility to the public,” he continued. “It also includes having a good assortment of products with competitive prices and people working there that can sell the products well.”

Limoni stores typically run between 1,700 and 2,200 square feet and carry high-end brands such as Christian Dior, Chanel, Lancôme and Estée Lauder. The chain’s mass-market business comprises 25 percent of overall sales, currently at 200 million euros, or $255.8 million at current exchange rates, for the group.

Biagi said the firm’s business is growing — it clocked a 4.5 percent rise last year and is expected to gain another 6 percent in 2005.

However, the going is not always easy. “It’s a hard moment,” said Biagi, referring to the sluggish Italian economy and what he termed the “super euro,” which he explained has caused the cost of living to surge in Italy.
— Jennifer Weil

RBA Gives to Cancer Charity
NEW YORK — Evelyn Lauder’s Breast Cancer Research Foundation received a $261,183 check from Retail Brand Alliance last Thursday at Casual Corner here at 150 East 42nd Street.“We are committed to helping organizations like the Breast Cancer Research Foundation find a cure for breast cancer,” said Claudio Del Vecchio, RBA’s president and chief executive . “It is our hope that Casual Corner Group’s support of the outstanding work of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation will bring them one step closer to finding a cure.”

RBA’s Casual Corner, Petite Sophisticate and Casual Corner Annex stores donated 30 percent of the sales of $18 items from the foundation, including a pink crystal breast cancer awareness bracelet and a white teddy bear holding the breast cancer awareness loop. Customers also made donations. The initiative began in August.
— David Moin

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