MILAN — Coin, one of Italy’s most historic department stores, has given its flagship here a $16 million facelift.

The revamp of the store’s nine floors and external facade marks the halfway point of a five-year plan to revitalize the Italian department store chain, said Stefano Beraldo, chief executive officer of Gruppo Coin SpA.

The firm has invested 40 million euros, or about $64 million, over the past two years to renovate 13 Coin stores and will invest a further 40 million euros to complete another four stores by 2010. Plans are being finalized to export the Coin store concept to Eastern Europe.

“We wanted to create innovation and newness in a shopping experience — something that shoppers revered Coin for in the past,” said Beraldo.

Coin’s Milan flagship, located in a well-heeled area of the city, is considered the company’s retail jewel. Its image overhaul follows in the wake of Italian department store chain La Rinascente’s remodeling, which is still in progress.

While La Rinascente repositioned its fashion offer to draw in major luxury designer brands, Coin is sticking to a midtier, younger mix of homegrown and international labels, including Diesel, Love Therapy by Elio Fiorucci, American Apparel and Miss Sixty. Fashion occupies five floors of the store, and the first floor is dedicated to men’s and women’s denim and urbanwear.

“We want to differentiate ourselves from other department stores; the fashion brand mix is more like what can be found in a boutique,” noted Beraldo.

Lights are the leitmotif for the new-look flagship. Outside, the glass building twinkles with 12,000 LED lights wrapped around an 11,840-square-foot space and inset with a video wall measuring 1,528 square feet. There also is a 753-square-foot ticker board, on which Coin plans to broadcast a new study it commissioned on Milan residents’ happiness levels.

Inside, Coin spruced up the 78,199-square-foot retail space with eye-catching interior design elements.

On the ground floor, where beauty and accessories are sold, a wireless control panel determines the color scheme of the cloudlike lamps festooning the ceiling and transparent wall shelving, created by architect Monica Armani. Iconic design pieces, like Jasper Morrison’s Glo-ball lamps and Arne Jacobsen’s Swan and Egg chairs decorate the space.

This story first appeared in the March 24, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Curved wooden tables cut a swathe through the new food corner Eataly on the lower ground floor, which also boasts a Nespresso shop-in-shop, while pink-and-black flock wallpaper and circular beds dot the lingerie department on the seventh floor. Globe, the store’s eighth-floor restaurant, has a 360-degree view of the city. In line with the store’s lights theme, chromatherapy is integrated into the four treatment cabins on the seventh floor day spa, managed by Verona-based beauty firm Veribel.

The flagship’s beauty and perfumery department underwent a radical update. Moved from the rear of the ground floor to the entrance, the more robust 4,843-square-foot section gained seven new brands, including Giorgio Armani cosmetics and skin care, MAC, Korres and La Ric, an Austrian nail care line.

Paolo Valerio, Coin’s beauty buyer, was bullish about sales expectations for the renovated department, predicting a 70 percent gain by March 2009 on current annual retail sales of 3.6 million euros, or $5.54 million at current exchange.

Coin hired fashion photographer Tim Walker to shoot an advertising campaign for the store’s reopening. Entitled “Cakes cakes cakes,” the image features a model clad in a Fifties-style bathing suit in a room filled with colorful cakes. Another shot “Spring spring spring” depicts a bouquet of gigantic blooms in an office. Both bear the slogan “Coin: New shopping experience.”