ITC DETAILS IN-STORE EVENTS, ADS FOR MODA MADE IN ITALY PROGRAM
Byline: Arthur Friedman
NEW YORK — The American love affair with Italian fashion is still going strong.
That was the word Monday from executives of the Italian Trade Commission and U.S. retailers who gathered to break bread at a luncheon at Il Toscanaccio and to discuss the accomplishments and plans for the ITC’s four-year-old Moda Made in Italy program.
Dr. Massimo Mamberti, trade commissioner-New York for the ITC, said that since 1995, when the Moda Made in Italy in-store promotions began, sales of some $10 million have resulted from large specialty stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York and Neiman Marcus.
In addition, the program’s Independent Retailers Program — which involved 84 point-of-sale promotions with small stores — generated sales of $5 million in the last two years. Those programs cost $1.1 million to implement, Mamberti said, with about 40 percent of the cost paid for by the retailers.
For 1997, the ITC has budgeted $2 million in advertising, mostly in consumer magazines, with stores expected to match that in co-op advertising, said Gaspare Mario Asaro, director of the Moda Made in Italy program. In the last 14 months, Asaro said, 94 ad pages have been published nationally in W, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar and a direct mail men’s catalog.
For spring, 41 in-store events are planned, and a new 36-page Saks catalog of Italian shoes was mailed to 400,000 homes this week. Overall, sales for the retailer program are projected at $5 million in 1997.
In 1997 and 1998, the ITC will make two improvements to the programs: a longer lead time to coordinate purchases from Italian vendors and POS promotions, and a direct link between the national ads and the store events.
Mamberti said the proof of the success of the program can be found in fashion exports to the U.S. The Italian market share of imports to the U.S. has grown from 4.5 percent in 1993 to 6 percent last year.
Apparel imports to the U.S. have grown 18 percent to 3.4 percent of the import market share in 1996, with women’s wear growing 21 percent over the same period. Overall exports of textiles, apparel and accessories from Italy increased 15 percent in 1996 to $3.8 billion.
Dr. Vittoria Giulini, chairman of the Italian Fashion Federation, said the Moda Made in Italy program has been successful because it attracts new consumers to Italian products.
“Consumers today buy for pleasure, not for need, and the shopping experience has to be pleasurable,” Giulini said.
Scott Malouf, owner of Malouf’s, with stores in Lubbock, Tex., and Burlingame, Calif., said the promotions the store ran last year brought in about $50,000 in sales. He said the in-store events are better than traditional advertising because they give the consumer “a chance to get excited about the product.”
Tom Miller, owner of Miller’s in Woodbury, N.Y., said he ran seven trunk shows last year and distributed a special brochure to 15,000 homes.
“The program shows our customers how important we think Italian fashions are, and also give us the chance to introduce new product,” Miller said.