MILAN — Dutch denim brand G-Star Raw continued to expand in Italy with the opening of a flagship in Milan on Monday.
The store, unfolding over the two levels of a historic building located on Via Dante, a stone’s throw from the city’s Duomo Cathedral, is the third G-Star unit, following Rome and Florence, to be opened by ARP, Advanced Retail Project. Founded in 2001 by Lorenzo Bassetti, ARP is a Rome-based company operating in the luxury retail and distribution business with partners spanning from The North Face, Eastpak and Vans to Italian coffee producer Illy.
The 4,306-square-foot space containing the G-Star store will also house the new ARP showroom, where the company will be able to showcase not only its retail projects, but also the collections of its house brand, Mountain Affair. Established two years ago, the label is positioned in the high-end segment of the activewear and leisure market and offers men’s, women’s and children’s wear. Mountain Affair is currently sold in three flagships, located in Rome, Bologna and in Lombardy’s Franciacorta area.
According to Bassetti, the company will also open a G-Star Raw store in Venice by the end of the year. In addition, ARP will take the Dutch denim brand to Spain, where two units, in Madrid and Barcelona, will open their doors within the first half of 2015.
ARP will also boost the retail presence of its other partners in the domestic market. In particular, the company will open Eastpak and Vans stores in Milan by mid-December. The two boutiques will be located in the same building on the central Galleria Passarella.
“A new model is imposing itself in the retail business,” Bassetti said. “The classic wholesale distribution is no longer performing, especially in Italy, where the market is suffering. That’s the reason why many companies are deciding to team up with a retail partner.”
While Bassetti noted that agreements with single franchisees don’t represent a competitive business model anymore, companies tend to join forces with retail specialists that can actually implement their stores’ revenues.
ARP, which also operates the Molto Italiano food label, expects to close the year with revenues of around 30 million euros, or $38 million at current exchange rate. According to Bassetti, this year’s revenues will be slightly impacted by the closure of a retail partnership agreement with Ferrari.