MILAN — Strengthening its ties with Milan, Moncler is unveiling its largest store in the world today [Oct. 19] on the luxury shopping street Via Montenapoleone and featuring unique references to the city.
“This is part of the strategy for our flagships, to create singularity in each city, maintaining our roots, surely, but triggering different emotions,” said chairman and chief executive officer Remo Ruffini in an interview ahead of the cocktail event held to mark the opening. Tourists continue to be a force in luxury shopping and different store formats will help “travelers avoid finding the same situations they would see at home,” Ruffini said. This adds “a different energy and different strength” to each store, he contended.
The Milan flagship, first opened in June 2013, has been expanded with two additional floors, for a total of four and covering an entire building over a total of 8,640 square feet. Of that, 5,940 square feet is selling space.
Moncler again worked with longtime partner French studio Gilles & Boissier, but the evolution of the aesthetic includes new elements drawn from a variety of cultural and artistic sources inspired by Milan, such as a heightened use of symmetry, as well as geometric references drawn from the rationalism and classicism of the Thirties and Forties — pivotal moments for Milan and its design.
The ground floor features the Risseu technique, under which stones smoothed by seawater or rivers are laid in a geometric pattern according to an artisanal technique widely used in the grottoes of Lombardy’s lakeside villas during the Mannerist and high Baroque periods. Here they are used to cover floors and walls with small smooth and textured black and white pebbles. Leather and marble are among the main materials used in the store’s furnishings.
A spiral staircase linking the four floors combines black metal with Montecristo marble, in shades of black and brown. The ceiling above the staircase is mirrored, extending the perspective from the ground floor.
Boiserie paneling, which is key in all Moncler boutiques, is treated differently here. On the first floor, dedicated to the women’s collections, the honey oak wood paneling is punctuated by gilded picture frames, which adds a “flashier and more feminine” touch.
The men’s collections are carried on the second floor, which has a more masculine mood, alternating light and shadows, with black as the common denominator. The boiserie paneling is also black, in contrast with the camel-colored, tailoring-effect ceiling, as is the mosaic of smooth black stones using the Risseu decorative technique. The goal is to have the product stand out against the darker background, Ruffini said.
In addition to the Main and Grenoble collections, the store carries accessories, and the Gamme Rouge and Gamme Bleu lines, designed by Giambattista Valli and Thom Browne, respectively. The cashier counter is located on the lower floor, while offices stand on the top level.
Ruffini estimated distribution in Italy was balanced between retail and wholesale. “We are now looking for a location in Rome. We have a beautiful store there on the corner between Via Condotti and the Spanish Steps, but it’s way too small,” he said.
Also in Milan, the company will transform the existing Via Spiga unit into the first directly operated store carrying the brand’s children’s wear.
As reported in July, Moncler continues its growth path, as the first-half results marked the 14th consecutive quarter of double-digit increases since it was listed in 2013. In the six months ended June 30, net profit climbed 25 percent to 41.8 million euros, compared with 33.6 million euros in the same period last year. Sales rose 18 percent to 407.6 million euros, compared to 346.5 million euros in the first half of 2016. Third-quarter figures for the company, which is publicly listed in Milan, are expected to be released on Oct. 24.
Ruffini has been emphasizing the company’s “new retail culture” with stores working to support the perception of the brand.
In the period, in Italy, revenues rose 7 percent to 58.2 million euros, driven by good results in all distribution channels. In particular, the retail channel has benefited from solid organic growth, further accelerating in the second quarter, and increasingly depending on tourists.
In the six months, revenues from the retail channel climbed 22 percent to 299.5 million euros, thanks to solid organic growth and the continued development of the network of directly operated stores. In the period, comparable store sales grew 14 percent.
As of June 30, the company had 191 retail directly operated stores, an increase of one unit compared to the end of December last year, and 46 wholesale shops-in-shop, an increase of four units compared to the end of December.
By the end of the year, the company will have opened a total of 14 stores. These include the opening of a flagship in Moscow at Gum; men’s and women’s stores at Rinascente in the new unit that was unveiled in Rome in October, and a store in Florence. It is also entering new markets with the first stores in Almaty, Kazakhstan; Stockholm, and Dubai. In March, Moncler opened its first directly operated store in Australia, in Melbourne. The company’s first directly operated store in a department store in the U.S. will open in San Francisco at Bloomingdale’s in early 2018. By the end of the year, a second unit will open in Toronto and one will be unveiled in Busan, South Korea.
In July, Moncler opened a flagship in Canton Road in Hong Kong, the largest in Asia.
Moncler declined to reveal the investment in the Milan flagship. As reported in July, the group’s total capital expenditure by the end of the year is expected to be close to 70 million euros. In the first six months of the year, capital expenditure totaled 34.4 million euros, compared to 28.9 million euros in the same period of 2016, mainly due to investments in the retail network and relocations and expansions.