MILAN — “Catching tourist flows, which are actually rebalancing the center of gravity of luxury sales.” This is the strategy guiding the retail expansion of René Caovilla, as explained by the high-end footwear label creative director and chief operating officer Edoardo Caovilla.
The Venice-based company is opening its first U.S. store today at the iconic Wynn Las Vegas hotel, which will be followed in November by another strategic debut for the brand at Harbour City, the premium shopping destination at Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui.
“We definitely chose two key locations in the Western and Eastern worlds,” Caovilla said. “Both the Wynn and Harbour City are two hubs in their respective area and they can be considered high-end passenger terminals for those transiting in Las Vegas and Hong Kong.”
Although the brand counts an established presence inside the most prestigious department stores in these two markets, spanning from Lane Crawford to Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, Caovilla stressed the importance to be present in the U.S. and Hong Kong with monobrand stores to present a comprehensive selection of the label’s wide offering.
While the boutique at the Wynn hotel — strategically located in front of the Salvatore Ferragamo store and next to the Chopard boutique — covers 367 square feet, the Hong Kong flagship spans 1,109.
“In both cases, it took a long time to find the right location,” said Caovilla, who revealed that he expects the Hong Kong store to become the company’s most profitable retail unit. To efficiently stock the stores, René Caovilla has opened a warehouse in Hong Kong and another one will be operated beginning next spring in the U.S., most likely in New York.
The retail concept, conceived by M2atelier, a Milan-based architecture and design studio founded by Marijana Radovic and Marco Bonelli, combines materials typical of the Venetian tradition, including gold, polished wood and marble, with a fresh, contemporary design.
Along with continuing to expand its retail network, which in 2019 will be further boosted with shops on the Hong Kong island, at Miami’s Bal Harbour luxury shopping development; in São Paulo, and in Al Kuwait and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the company is also relying on online commerce to boost its international business.
“The e-commerce business is constantly growing and its performance is in line with those of our three most successful boutiques, located in Paris, London and Dubai,” Caovilla said.
As highlighted by the brand’s retail investments that are well distributed in different geographic areas, the three main markets, the Americas, Europe and the Middle East, as well as Asia, each account for one-third of René Caovilla’s total revenues.
While the brand’s wholesale business accounts for 45 percent of the company’s turnover, Caovilla said the number of accounts will be reduced in the future to have wholesale representing 30 percent of total.
“The idea is to continue to nurture privileged relationships with the most relevant retailers in the world with exclusive products and consistent novelties,” Caovilla said.
René Caovilla is expected to close 2018 with revenues between 40 million euros and 50 million euros, up 15 percent compared to 2017.