Chanel bags

PARIS Chanel has acquired a stake in Italian tannery Samanta, a specialist in printed leather, as it continues to secure its supply chain in the face of a growing shortage of high-quality leather. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

The French luxury house confirmed the investment following a report in Italian newspaper MFF. Samanta is located in the Tuscan town of San Miniato in the heart of Santa Croce, Italy’s most important leather manufacturing area.

“In a rapidly changing luxury market and leather industry, the two companies have decided to join forces to help Samanta further develop its unique offering, recognized by the biggest names in luxury. For Chanel, Samanta’s expertise and technical know-how represents a real added value for the leather industry as a whole,” Chanel said in a statement.

Samanta’s expertise in printed leather will be especially useful for Chanel, which announced last year that it would no longer use exotic skins including crocodile, lizard, snake and stingray, and would instead rely on the know-how of its in-house ateliers to create high-end products.

Details at Chanel RTW Spring 2019

Details at Chanel spring 2019  Aitor Rosas Sune/WWD

“Chanel and Conceria Samanta share the same vision of the industry: This tie-up will open the way for synergies between leather goods suppliers,” Chanel said, adding that Samanta would continue to work with its other clients.

Chanel more than doubled investment last year, spending more than $1 billion to make sure it remains at the top of the luxury pyramid. It devoted $234 million to acquisitions in 2018, including $90 million for Spanish tannery Colomer Leather Group.

“The level of investment is going to be sustained in 2019 and 2020,” Chanel chief financial officer Philippe Blondiaux told WWD last month, indicating that Chanel would continue to bolster its Paraffection division, home to 27 specialty ateliers including embroiderer Lesage, feather-maker Lemarié and cashmere specialist Barrie.

Chanel is not the only luxury group ramping up its activities in Italy. Later this year, Louis Vuitton plans to open an extension to its leather goods manufacturing facility in Incisa in Val d’Arno, also near Florence, doubling its surface and boosting staff levels to 300 from 150 at present, a spokeswoman for the brand said.