Prada’s chief executive officer Patrizio Bertelli waved a flag for Italy in Monday’s issue of the La Repubblica newspaper, trumpeting a new “positive mood and more optimism among entrepreneurs” in the country at the moment, and praising Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his government for giving “a positive jolt to the economy, and in our sector this has contributed to refocusing more on Italy and leveraging Italian know-how more. ”
Bertelli said that small- and medium-sized companies that work in fashion, leather goods and footwear have seen “significant benefits” from the Job Act — measures meant to simplify Italy’s labor system that were introduced about a year ago — because they’ve been allowed to “renew” the pool of manual workers and “to transfer their industrial know-how to a younger generation.”
In particular, this affected 75 percent of workers at Prada, as the group indefinitely hired in the 2014-15 period 375 specialized workers with an average salary that is 30 percent higher than in other sectors, he said. The entrepreneur also noted that the measure has helped companies to reshore production back to Italy. Prada now manufactures 83 percent of its products in Italy. Bertelli said Prada has increased industrial investments in men’s and women’s apparel, in leather goods and footwear.
“In particular, investments on Church’s women’s shoes are showing good results,” he said.
He conceded that sanctions against Russia and the drop in oil and gas prices, as well as the devaluation of the Chinese yuan, lie behind “the enormous effort for global companies such as Prada to recast their positioning in different markets.” Prada is “trying to drastically reduce the price differences” throughout various countries, he said.
Prada’s goal, Bertelli concluded, is to “bring operating profit above 23 percent while maintaining dividends unchanged.” To put this in context, operating profit in Prada’s first fiscal half represented 16 percent of revenues.