Byline: Kavita Daswani

HONG KONG — At Gold Mia, a small, exclusive multibrand boutique in Taipei, sales of a test collection of Cerruti’s upscale Arte line exceeded even the most optimistic expectations: Last season, the boutique sold 700 pieces, retailing for an average of $1,000 each.
In fact, according to Gino Trentin, Cerruti’s managing director for the Asia Pacific region, the label’s Arte women’s apparel business in Taiwan has jumped 40 percent in the last year alone, as the Asian economy recovers from the recession and the region’s consumers are eager to try different styles.
“The numbers they are buying are unbelievable,” said Trentin.
“In certain markets in Asia, such as Taiwan, we are performing extremely well,” he added.
And it’s about to do better. Cerruti has just announced the opening of its Asian flagship here on April 7. The 4,000-square-foot, two-level boutique on the ground floor of St. George’s Building, a prestigious office address, will mark Cerruti Arte’s official entry into the Asian market.
Women’s apparel will take up around 30 to 40 percent of the new store’s floor space, shared between Arte and the less expensive 1881 line.
Trentin said the new venue would allow Cerruti to consolidate all its offerings, including accessories, under one roof. Cerruti’s 1881 women’s line is currently sold through Lane Crawford, a specialty chain with four doors here.
“It’s going to be a complete range, offering what has not been available in the market so far. We’re especially enthusiastic because the last two collections in particular match Asian tastes — light, clean, modern clothes,” said Trentin.
He said that existing 1881 customers had begun asking for Arte, seeking the special embroideries and more refined workmanship that is its signature.
“In terms of flagships, our main goal after Hong Kong is to open in Japan and Korea. Markets such as Thailand and Indonesia are not at that level yet — if buyers from there are looking for something special, they will come either to Singapore or Hong Kong.”
Aside from scouting locations for flagships in Asia, Trentin also intends to expand the Cerruti 1881 women’s business.
The line is now available in four doors in Taiwan, two in China and four in Hong Kong.
“One of the goals for 1881 is to open stores for the men’s and women’s collections together, in exclusive locations, especially in cities where we are not yet in the market,” said Trentin, adding that expansion plans would be in place within the next two years.

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