MILAN — Turning 70 this year, the Miroglio Group is taking stock of its 11 fashion brands, 1,188 stores, four manufacturing plants, 5,500 employees and presence in 34 countries — but is by no means looking back.
“Innovation is our tradition — this is our claim, our attitude for the future and central to our evolution,” said president Giuseppe Miroglio, who is a member of the fourth generation of the family leading the group, together with his siblings Elena, vice president; and Elisa, president of the Foundation Elena e Gabriella Miroglio. Together, they hold 70 percent of the company’s shares, while the rest is owned by a group of cousins.
The group, which controls two companies, Miroglio Fashion and Miroglio Textile, closed 2016 with sales of 622 million euros. In the first quarter this year, Miroglio Fashion saw an 18 percent uptick in revenues.
Miroglio Fashion includes brands ranging from Motivi and Oltre to Caractère as well as the Elena Mirò and Fiorella Rubino targeting the curvy customer. The apparel division accounts for 82 percent of total sales of 513 million euros.
Last fall, Miroglio tapped former Coca-Cola Company, Timex and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles executive Hans Hoegstedt as the fashion division’s new chief executive officer. For the year 2017, investments of 40 million euros have been earmarked to be channeled into Miroglio Fashion. These include new marketing projects, investments in technology and “300 in 300,” the renovation of 300 stores in the year.
“This is an important and ambitious goal and part of our strategy to increasingly differentiate the brands and their positioning, strengthening the identity of each, rendering them more distinctive and more focused,” explained Miroglio. The executive is aware of the power of social media and is working to increase the contact with customers with brands that “are aimed at specific communities.”
Miroglio is further developing tools such as Radio Frequency Identification and its ominichannel. “E-commerce still accounts for less than 5 percent of our sales, but it has enormous value in influencing acquisitions. More and more, it’s the same customer that buys on and offline,” he said.
From its very first shop in Alba, a one-hour drive from Turin in Italy’s region of Piedmont, at the end of the 1800s, the group has been a pioneer in building a capillary web of stores. In 1993, the company launched what Miroglio called the first fast-fashion chain in Italy, Motivi. “There are costs connected to this distribution network but it has allowed us to be rooted in the territory and to create a relationship with our customers. Now with the use of new technologies we want to further strengthen this advantage,” said Miroglio. Three years ago, the company launched Miroglio Innovation Program to promote and accelerate company processes, including 3-D models and RFID and to invest in fashion start-ups. The group also has 2,400 wholesale multibrand accounts.
To mark the 70th anniversary, the group is exhibiting a collection of unique pieces inspired by the Fifties at its headquarters in Alba. The original prints were selected from the Miroglio Textile archives, which count more than 50,000 designs, and were revisited with a modern touch. Miroglio Textile produces more than 50 million meters of fabrics per year. It has been investing in new digital printers and sustainability, observed Miroglio.
Welfare has long been a priority for the family, with the creation of the Foundation offering social and cultural assistance to the employees and the community in Alba. A kindergarten was first built by the Foundation in 1958. Now a non-profit organization, the Foundation also supports assistance in different parts of the world.
The company, which prides itself on being the first curvy brand in Europe to hold a runway show during Milan Fashion Week back in 2005 for Elena Mirò, will show at that label’s boutique in Milan near the La Scala theater in September.