MILAN — Despite the sluggish economy in Hong Kong, Prada has expanded and completely renovated its store there, located on the main shopping street Canton Road.
This is a vote of confidence in the potential of the market and Stefano Cantino, Prada’s group strategic marketing director, underscored how “it is important to give a high-quality, visible sign, even if the market is difficult. We show our point of view with this renewal, which reflects an image that is more in line with the expectations of a shopping experience today. And this shows how we believe this market can give us great satisfaction.”
The concept used in the Hong Kong store was introduced earlier this month at the renovated Plaza 66 store in Shanghai. Banners in Zurich and at Moscow’s Gum department store will open next week and use the same blueprint.
Art collector Miuccia Prada pays homage to Franco-Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez with an optical geometric pattern on the Hong Kong store’s façade. The artist is one of the leaders of the kinetic art movement, focusing on colors and viewers’ perception, and his works are an inspiration for the front of the Shanghai unit.
In April, Prada chief executive officer Patrizio Bertelli was cautious about the global outlook for the year in discussing year-end results. In the 12 months ended Jan. 31, Prada saw slower economic growth in China hitting the entire Asia-Pacific area, which recorded a 16.1 percent decrease at constant exchange.
As reported, Prada profits in the 2015 fiscal year dropped 26.6 percent to 330.9 million euros, or $364 million, on flat sales totaling 3.54 billion euros, or $3.91 billion.
Dollar figures are converted at average exchange for the period to which they refer.
The company has been slowing down the opening of stores, focusing on optimizing its retail network and rationalizing store space, strengthening the relationship with customers and enhancing their in-store experience. It has been opening up to digital communication, activating social platform Sina Weibo in China in February, for example, and emphasizing technology in stores.
Cantino, who was in Hong Kong for the opening of the store on Friday, said the banner reflects the company’s new customer-centric strategy. “The store speaks to consumers in a language that is different from the past and the goal is to create a more intimate, more personal, individual and unique shopping experience for the customer,” he explained.
The two-level unit in Hong Kong, which opened in 2002, covers more than 14,000 square feet, with a secondary internal access from Harbour City.
Black Marquina marble is a standout element, as are the brand’s signature black-and-white checkerboard floor and the walls in light green encaustic and marble. The beamed ceiling in Prada green is a contemporary interpretation of the typical ceilings of historic Italian buildings. Some interior design elements have a Fifties style; seating elements in different shapes and colors create intimate salons, arranged with low tables to create spatial geometries. Velvet is juxtaposed with Plexiglas and marble.
In particular, in the footwear area on the ground floor, the checkerboard marble floor is reproduced in a soft carpet and the green of the walls is covered in velvet, in sync with the green velvet chairs by Osvaldo Borsani, an exclusive edition for Prada.
Spaces in green encaustic and black marble dedicated to leather and women’s accessories alternate with salons in red and green velvet with geometrically patterned carpets.
The stairway, sheathed in green marble accompanied along its entire height by a steel and glass display case, leads to the basement floor and the men’s collections. This area is marked by tall furnishings in black iron and glass, blue ostrich skin chairs and aviator blue and gray carpeting with geometric patterns. Apparel is in an intimate room with a dark wood floor of narrow boards and chairs in gray velvet with wooden arms.