MILAN — Prada SpA has taken full control of footwear and accessories brand Car Shoe.
“We believe the brand can be developed internationally,” said Stefano Cantino, group communications director, pointing to a retail expansion that will add “impulse and identity” to Car Shoe.
In addition to the Milan, Rome and Capri stores, a boutique opened in Singapore in March. Another new venue will be unveiled in October in Hong Kong at the Elements mall. There are 250 points of sale that carry the brand globally. Cantino declined to provide sales figures for Car Shoe.
Prada first bought a 51 percent stake in the label from founder Antonio Moretti in spring 2001. The Car Shoe trademark was first registered in the early Sixties and is known for its pebble-soled driving shoes, which originally appealed to professional race-car drivers and later became fashion accessories. At the time of the acquisition, Prada’s chief executive officer Patrizio Bertelli touted the uniqueness of the shoes, and the purchase was seen as a jab at Tod’s chairman and ceo Diego Della Valle, given the past thorny relationship between the two entrepreneurs, who clashed in 1999 over control of British shoemaker Church & Co., which was eventually bought by Bertelli. Last year, Prada, which also controls the Prada and Miu Miu brands, raised its stake in Car Shoe to 55 percent.
Propelled by a 41 percent increase in retail sales, Prada said consolidated revenues rose 29 percent in the first half ended July 31 to more than 930 million euros, or $1.2 billion. Dollar amounts have been converted at average exchange for the period to which they refer.
In July, Prada negotiated a three-year loan agreement of 360 million euros, or $474 million at current exchange, which will partially go toward funding the company’s retail growth.
The group is once again mulling an initial public offering, this time for the first quarter of 2012.
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