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MILAN — Loro Piana is launching The Gifts, a complete line of products that includes a unique cashmere plaid reproducing chess or backgammon games, exclusive titanium glasses and waterproof calfskin tennis bags.

This story first appeared in the November 9, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“This is a solution to our customers’ lifestyle and for every time they want to say thank you,” said Sergio Loro Piana, co-chief executive officer of the family-owned firm. “They are not meant for Christmas only, there are a myriad of occasions to thank for — a dinner, or a vacation, a sailing trip. There are only a few brands that can legitimately engage in this category and ours is one of them.

“We know our customers’ profile, because our lifestyle is the same as our customers’. They are not only wealthy, but they are international and they travel a lot for business and leisure,” continued Loro Piana.

The gifts category was first unveiled in Milan during fashion week in September and the first boutique with an area dedicated to gifts opens today in New York. Located on 748 Madison Avenue and covering 13,000 square feet, it is the largest among the 17 Loro Piana directly operated stores in the U.S.

Most of space on the 4,000-square-foot ground level is dedicated to gifts and accessories with highlights from women’s and men’s ready-to-wear collections and a small area dedicated to children’s clothing. The entire fashion collections and an area dedicated to knits, shoes and bags are on the second floor. The men’s space also includes a custom and made-to-measure section.

The sleek interiors reflect the brand’s core values, with furnishings upholstered in Loro Piana fabrics, and a mood reminiscent of a private drawing room. Fitting rooms are in natural oak complemented by sand-colored walls with sisal carpet flooring and gray Italian stone on the floors. Technology is also a priority in the store, with five 17-inch touch screens and videos related to individual gift classifications, among other features.

Last year, the company reported sales of 480 million euros, or $633.6 million at average exchange rates. In 2011, it expects revenues to reach 680 million euros, or $935.4 million at current exchange.

There are 132 Loro Piana stores globally and the executive said 83 percent of the brand’s business is derived from retail. The label is also available at department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Loro Piana denied rumors that there are any immediate plans to go public. “The Italian Bourse would like this, and there is no preclusion to it, but there is no reason for us to think about it. There is no need for money and the family is united, sharing a strategic vision,” he said.

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