By  on December 22, 2005

MILAN — IT Holding is banking on simultaneous temptation.

With the introduction of a new concept store, Plus IT, the company will be able to offer all the branded accessories it produces under the same roof, from the Just Cavalli pleated and belted mustard leather totes to nylon and leather GF Ferré bags, C'N'C Costume National sneakers and studded Extè pumps.

The Italian company, which owns the Gianfranco Ferré brand, unveiled its first Plus IT boutique in Milan last month after openings earlier in the fall in Paris; Warsaw; Casablanca, Morocco, and Moscow. IT Holding is pushing the accelerator on building a retail network, with 30 boutiques under way in countries ranging from Spain and Greece to South Arabia.

"Our goal is to open a total of 300 in the next three years," said Massimo Della Rocca, sales manager at Ittierre Accessories SpA, which is controlled by IT Holding. "We've already signed 130 agreements."

By the end of the year, a Plus IT store will open in Dubai and, early next year, in Rome, Moscow, Athens and Paris at Galeries Lafayette.

"A market request triggered this project," Della Rocca said. "There is a huge demand for accessories. In particular, these are very competitive accessories, as they are designer-branded at more affordable prices."

Previous examples of this same concept, but confined to the European market, include the Dev stores, which carry all brands produced by Tod's Group, and the P-Box boutiques, which carry accessories by Alberta Ferretti, Moschino, Narciso Rodriguez and Pollini, all produced by Aeffe.

While the Milan Plus IT store located on Via Manzoni, a few steps from Giorgio Armani's Emporio megastore, is company owned, most of the Plus IT boutiques are franchised.

"This is a tremendous franchising opportunity, as the spaces require a minimum of 540 square feet and there are a lot of such spaces available," Della Rocca said.

The decor is minimal to better offset the products. However, silver or black wood frames encase the accessories. In the Middle East, the wood frame is golden. Also, a white lacquered wall with magnets displays sneakers that look suspended in air, which allows a larger number of models to be shown."It's a new, unusual display — an alternative to the more classic shelves presentation," Della Rocca said.

The executive said the Plus IT logo, +IT followed by a red dot, is "recognizable, immediate and direct. The concept store comprises multiple and different offers, from sneakers to luxury, from ready-to-wear to glamorous fashion. In short, a new lifestyle concept."

Della Rocca said this product mix guarantees constant and balanced sales, with some items growing at Christmas and others at the change of season, for example.

This multibrand format also allows better merchandise control. Massimo Ferretti, who with his sister, Alberta, owns Aeffe, said, "This concept was created with the purpose of monitoring sellouts and market trends. It's an immediate reference."

The multibrand concept also allows the fashion house to convey a strong message. Tod's chief Diego Della Valle believes "the strength of the project lies in offering a complete range of merchandise and brands in a luxury concept that reflects the philosophy of Tod's Group."

Dev carries the Tod's, Hogan, Fay and Acqua di Parma labels.

"I think this is a winning idea and a valid alternative to our [single-]brand stores," Ferretti said. "Customers are curious and eclectic and want to be able to compare designs and styles."

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