MILAN – Loro Piana on Friday launched its e-commerce operation, loropiana.com, which aims to evoke its luxury universe via an interactive site featuring a host of multimedia content.

At a presentation in Milan, it unveiled the platform, which delivers to Europe and will extend to the United States and China by year-end. Two years in development, it allows customers to navigate between situations such as a weekend in Tuscany, or sailing in Portofino, and dip into the products they might need for the occasion.

“We want to have this as an extension of service to our customers rather than being out to enlarge the clientele,” said Sergio Loro Piana, co-chief executive officer of the family-owned firm.

Clicking on products launches films that tell the story of the exclusive raw materials used in creating them, and others that highlight their characteristics in a light-hearted and humorous way. 

Loro Piana said its revenues totaled 563 million euros, or $783.6 million, in 2011, up 17 percent at constant exchange rates. All dollar rates are calculated at average exchange rates for the period concerned.

 

Loro Piana said sales in Europe rose 10 percent, Japan was up almost 10 percent, China jumped 42 percent and the United States posted “strong double-digit” growth. He expects growth to remain stable in 2012, noting that the brand will continue to streamline its retail activities by terminating wholesale accounts this year, mainly in Italy and the rest of Europe.

“We had historically some mom-and-pop accounts in Italy. They cannot represent our brand any longer as they simply don’t buy enough and they have us surrounded by other brands, so we are not properly represented,” he said.

 

Loro Piana noted that sales so far this year were above expectations. “[It’s about] quality, integrity, heritage and reliability, and remaining focused without distractions on a certain kind of consumer. This kind of consumer doesn’t change his lifestyle as much as other segments of the market,” he said. “We don’t see a reason to diverge from this strategy because it allows us to grow.”

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