MILAN — Prada SpA plans to bolster its non-family management in the months ahead — and aims to have the restructuring completed by the end of the year.
While not going into detail, Prada chairman Carlo Mazzi reiterated on Thursday that the company is aiming for a more structured management organization. Speaking on the sidelines of a summit here, he said the goal is to finish the process by the end of the year.
Patrizio Bertelli and his wife, creative director Miuccia Prada, currently share the chief executive officer’s role. Longtime chief financial officer Donatello Galli left in February, succeeded by Alessandra Cozzani.
The Italian fashion company, which is publicly listed in Hong Kong, has been working for some time to strengthen its executive team in light of the global expansion of the firm and its growing number of brands, which also include Miu Miu, Church’s and Car Shoe.
Bertelli, age 70, in particular is known as a hands-on manager who is involved in almost every detail of the company and its brands. The plan to implement a more structured management also comes as Prada is implementing more stringent cost controls, stemming from its slower growth over the last few years as sales of its core leather goods category have slowed.
In the 12 months ended Jan. 31, sales totaled 3.54 billion euros, or $3.91 billion, almost flat with the 3.55 billion euros, or $4.67 billion, in the previous fiscal year.
Sales of the core Prada brand were up 1 percent, lifted by currency swings, to 2.48 billion euros, or $2.74 billion, while Miu Miu’s and Church’s sales rose 10 percent and 14 percent, respectively.
“Throughout 2015, we had to deal with an economic environment characterized by extreme volatility in currency markets, as well as by the deteriorating geopolitical situation in many world regions,” said Bertelli in February. “These two factors have made prices fluctuate widely and diverted tourist traffic in sudden and unpredictable ways. Our retail network — now truly global, thanks to investment in recent years — enables us to keep developing a direct relationship with our ever-more demanding customer all over the world.
“In the coming months, the Prada Group will be focusing its energies on the development of new commercial and marketing initiatives to sustain organic growth, also by means of an extensive digital project to strengthen dialogue with our customers.”
An example of its new strategy came earlier this week when Prada unveiled a fall 2016 pop-up shop in New York at its Epicenter store on Broadway called “PradaVision.” The pop-up offered customers the chance to order pieces from the fall collection, three months before those items would be in stores. “One-to-one customer experience is now our project because the general customer experience has to be the highest level possible,” Stefano Cantino, the company’s group strategic marketing director, told WWD of the pop-up “In this market condition it is more and more important to provide the best service possible.…There is a clear expectation from top customers for this kind of special treat.”
In December, commenting on the nine-months results, Bertelli said during a call with analysts that the company was focusing on technology and social media, from Instagram to Twitter, to engage customers and that, from Jan. 15, Wi-Fi service would be available in its network of Prada and Miu Miu stores to make products more accessible to customers. Chief financial officer Donatello Galli said during the call that Prada’s planned interactivity with customers will also allow the company to acquire “deeper insight” on their behavior. He noted it is increasingly challenging to serve the customer but sees this as “an opportunity.”