By  on December 16, 2008

MILAN — Despite the rocky economy, Gucci is staying the course, continuing to expand in emerging markets while building its base in established ones.

In line with this global retail push, the luxury goods house opened its first store in Budapest in October, and unveiled its first directly operated store in Munich last month. According to president and chief executive officer Mark Lee, one of Gucci’s “most valuable assets is the ability to balance its leadership and exclusivity between historical and new markets, while staying relevant to different customers all over the world.”

The Munich store is located at the entrance of the prestigious Maximilianstrasse and boasts the new Frida 1 design, conceived by the brand’s creative director Frida Giannini. The only other stores with the concept are the New York flagship and the renewed boutique in Rome’s Via Condotti, which both opened in February.

Gucci bought back its franchisee in Munich, marking a push in its strategy to invest in direct stores, which total 246 around the world. Seventy percent of the brand’s revenues come from directly owned stores.

The Munich unit, which has almost 6,400 square feet on one level, carries women’s and men’s collections of ready-to-wear, handbags, shoes, watches, sunglasses, jewelry, small leather goods and gifting items. Staple Gucci materials such as dark rosewood and marble remain essential in the store’s design, while a range of new materials — such as ribbed glass, warm polished gold, smoked mirror and smoked glass — have been added.

The Munich and Budapest units join stores opened by the brand earlier this year in cities as diverse as Prague, Macau, Cape Town and Auckland, New Zealand.

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