MILAN — In a city dominated by the likes of Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana and Armani, Milanese shoppers have slowly embraced more affordable fashion retail chains.
The mark was set in September 2002 when Zara opened its flagship on Milan’s busy Corso Vittorio Emanuele. Then, Hennes & Mauritz announced its plans to open a store down the street in the old Fiorucci split-level complex the following year.
In the same central area, English accessories chain Accessorize, which is part of the Monsoon franchise, opened its fourth store in Italy on Milan’s Via Torino in March.
Clearly, location seems to be the key to driving sales for moderate-priced chains that don’t have much exposure or history in a luxury-driven market like Italy.
“It took a long time to set up and find the store in Milan. We were quite fussy with what side of the street we want and the location,” said Christian Ganado, director of Accessorize. “You have to be on the best street. It’s a question of flow.”
Popular retail street Via Torino also will be home to Milan’s first Mango store opening this September. The Spanish clothing chain, with sales of $997 million in 2002, has opened eight stores in Italy since 2001, beginning with tourist town Sanremo, with another four planned to be open by the end of the year. Mango’s first Milan store will be located in a 2,460-square-foot space in what was a cinema. Dollar figures have been converted from the euro at current exchange.
Mango expansion director Isak Halfon said, “It has been quite hard to open Mango stores in Italy, mainly because the lack of big spaces. All the stores in Italy are not quite big enough. Moreover, the prices for the key locations are extremely high. On the other hand, the Italian market tends to be protectionist with its own brands.”
Safeguarding local shop owners has been a priority of Italian city councils and real estate agents. Ganado said Accessorize Italy experienced some problems with bureaucracy after forming the company, but it didn’t stop the group from opening a store in Italy a month later.Ganado said he could see only benefits of opening shops in Italy, in particular because of the way Italian staff worked in the Accessorize environment.
“The staff in Italy are well trained and good at window merchandising, which is important to our customer flow,” Ganado said.
Since opening the first Accessorize shop in Rome in 2002, the company has opened six more Accessorize shops in Italy. Accessorize Italy plans on opening 10 more shops in 2004.
Despite the teething problems, Accessorize and Mango each have reported good results from their Italian ventures. Ganado said most Accessorize shops are “what we forecasted or above in the first year.”
“In a good week, the Milan store will turn over 35,000 euros [$39,463],” Ganado continued. “The shops in the smaller towns benefit from long weekends where they double their intake.”
Meanwhile, Mango reported that since opening the Rome shop nearly four months ago, it has already established itself as the 14th top performer of the 630 Mango shops worldwide.
“The business in Italy has been going very well so far and we’re very satisfied about it,” Halfon said. “We’re very confident that the Italian market will represent for us a great opportunity of growth. The turnover of the Sanremo shop, the only Mango shop that has been working for a whole year, has been 30 percent more than the initial forecast.”
Even the stylish shoppers of Milan have seemed to welcome the midprice stores into their wallets.
“The Milanese who only buy Prada and Gucci bags and women who wear Armani suits have come into our stores and said, ‘It’s great — I can buy something for 50 euros and look just as good,’” Ganado added.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye