FILA’S EUROPEAN PLAN: 40 STORES, 5 FLAGSHIPS
Byline: Rosemary Feitelberg
NEW YORK — Fila is stepping up its retail game.
As part of a five-year plan, Fila plans to open 40 stores, including five flagships in Europe. The company plans to invest about $50 million in the program.
Once all 40 stores are up and running, Fila expects its retail arm to generate about $80.6 million in annual sales, a Fila spokeswoman said.
Called Fila Sport Life, the 8,611-square-foot flagships are being designed by Studio Matteo Thun of Milan.
Fila executives liked Thun & Associates’ pitch, which included a more emotional and innovative interpretation of Fila’s positioning of “sport & life,” according to a release from Michele Scannavini, managing director of Fila SpA. With the new stores, the company aims to illustrate sport as “emotion, a rediscovery of leisure time, a place for expression and a chance to enhance one’s well being,” he said.
To play up a virtual reality theme, Fila plans to have sections of the store be dedicated to selling key categories like running, tennis and crosstraining. Each section will be color-coded to coordinate with the respective area on Fila’s Web site.
There will also be an area designated for a chat and another space where shoppers can pick up coaching tips.
Shoppers will be barraged with moving images and sounds of athletes training and competing. Different sections of the stores will also have their own scent.
Construction is under way for the first flagship, which is expected to open in Milan in May. Shoppers will be able to enter this five-floor unit from the Central Piazetta Liberty, the center of the city’s shopping area.
Scannavini said the Milan store will create an innovative, but uniform look that will help increase the brand’s visibility.
“It represents a highly effective communication channel with the final consumers that will be communicated through a strong sense of interpretation of our identity,” he said.
The second flagship is slated to bow in London in August. Fila plans to open the other three stores in Paris, Rome and Berlin by the beginning of 2003. It will showcase its entire apparel and footwear collection in the new stores.
Fila’s licensed merchandise, including sunglasses, watches, inline skates and underwear, will also be sold in the new stores. Merchandising will be continually reviewed and changed and the stores will be organized by categories similar to Fila.com, the brand’s e-commerce site, Scannavini said.
FilaNet, the Peabody, Mass.-based company that oversees Fila’s online efforts, will be involved with the retail project to help convey a consistent image with its Web site.
The new stores will also sell books, films and travel-related merchandise for people “who experience sport like an important part of his or her everyday life,” Scannavini said.
Fila also wants to open 35 stores in other major European cities. Unlike the flagships, these stores will be 4,305-square-foot units. The company is currently looking for sites in France, Germany, Italy and the U.K.
Fila is also looking into franchising stores in Italy, and plans to test that later this year, a spokeswoman said.