WWD.com/fashion-news/fashion-features/morellato-8217-s-contemporary-luxury-458966/
government-trade
government-trade

Morellato’s Contemporary Luxury

Morellato is relying on design, craftsmanship and a select portfolio of designer licenses to boost its fashion quotient, raise quality and expand globally.

Morellato is relying on design, craftsmanship and a select portfolio of designer licenses to boost its fashion quotient, raise quality and expand globally.

Group sales have surged from 90 million euros, or $111.6 million at average exchange rate, three years ago, to 250 million euros, or $342.5 million, in 2007.

Massimo Carraro, chairman and chief executive officer of the Padua, Italy-based watch and jewelry company, sees a public listing in 2010.

With a business that is increasingly international, Morellato is opening its board to new influences, such as former LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton executive Concetta Lanciaux, who now runs her own consultancy.

“Our goal for the next three years is to replicate the growth we’ve had over the past three years, leveraging on our existing brands and licenses,” Carraro said.

The company controls the Swiss-made brand Philip Watch, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. Since 2006, Morellato has taken control of the iconic Sector watch brand and signed licensing deals to produce watches for Roberto Cavalli, Pirelli PZero and more recently, John Galliano.

The latter’s collection bowed at Baselworld, the Swiss trade show which begins today. A Galliano spokeswoman said at the announcement in September that average retail prices would be around 1,500 euros, or $2,192 at current exchange, with jeweled styles running higher.

That said, Carraro pointed out he is “not interested in a collection of licenses.” The executive stands by each brand and views each as “unique and original.” The company also produces and distributes watches and jewelry for Miss Sixty and Just Cavalli.

Morellato has a history of leather watch bracelets that dates to 1930. Exports account for 38 percent of sales. The group relies on 57 Morellato stores, including 30 in China, and the goal is to reach 80 units this year. Coming up next, a store in New York, where Carraro is looking at space. The company has a U.S. branch office on Fifth Avenue. Cavalli watches are available at Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom. Philip Watch is sold at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Carraro said Morellato accessories are meant for daily use — easy to wear while carrying symbolic and emotional meanings.

“It’s about contemporary luxury, for customers who like themselves and are happy about themselves,” Carraro said.

Morellato watches retail between $175 and $319, and jewelry retails between $129 and $290.

Italian consumer research firm Eurisko said at the end of 2007 Morellato had a 42 percent market share, positioned first in the category. Last year, jewelry accounted for 55 percent of sales and watches made up the rest. In the spring, the company will introduce belts and small leather goods for women and men.

Morellato has a watch production unit in Lugano, Switzerland, and has its jewelry made by artisans in the Veneto and Tuscany regions of Italy.