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MILAN — Buccellati Group is expanding in the U.S.
This story first appeared in the June 17, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Italian jewelry company, which already counts doors in New York, Beverly Hills and Aspen, Colo., will unveil its first store in Chicago on East Oak Street in a few weeks.
The two-story flagship covers around 2,000 square feet and is located in a historic building formerly occupied by the Esquire Theatre.
According to Alberto Milani, chief executive officer of Buccellati Americas, the store, which is slated to open at the end of June, will feature the new concept that this summer will also be applied to the shop-in-shop inside Neiman Marcus in Palm Beach, Fla.
“For the first time we are using new materials and a new layout,” Milani said, referring to the Chicago store. “We are keeping a part of Buccellati stores’ historic look, and we are combining that with new materials — wood will feature a different finishing, we will introduce glass and mirrors and, for the first time, we will use counters.”
The store’s first floor will be organized in three areas. One features the aforementioned counters displaying the most affordable pieces, including the silver collection, which made its debut two years ago, and the new silver items enriched with brown diamonds that will be launched on the market with the opening of the Chicago store. The second area highlights the Buccellati signature gold and precious stone ranges, while another space is dedicated to custom-made and hyper-luxury jewelry. The latter is decorated with original furniture coming from an Italian 19th-century pharmacy.
The second floor carries silverware and home accessories.
“Chicago has traditionally been key for our business,” Milani said, adding that the store will also help boost the sales of the Buccellati store in Aspen. “In Chicago we have customers that are quite conservative but loyal customers, who not only know the jewelry business very well but are also highly educated.”
Milani declined to give a sales projection for the store. “Especially in the first year, in Chicago we want to deliver a high-quality, personalized service, which, according to our data, is currently making the difference in the U.S.,” he said, revealing that jewels ranging from 25,000 euros, or $32,158 at current exchange, to 50,000 euros, or $64,316, are driving Buccellati’s business in North America. “After the crisis, those willing to spend money are more attentive to what they buy than in the past. They don’t believe in affordable luxury anymore and opt for long-lasting purchases.”
Buccellati last week finalized the deal with Milan-based private equity Clessidra SGR to buy a 70 percent stake in the jewelry firm for 80 million euros, or $102.6 million. The Buccellati family will keep a minority stake, along with Italian merchant bank Simest.
“The creativity remains with [president and creative director] Andrea Buccellati, who will keep designing the collections,” said Milani, who also revealed that the company is expanding its management. According to reports, former Lanvin managing director Thierry Andretta might join the company in the next few months.