BERLIN — In a time when shop closures have become something of the norm, Boggi Milano has embarked on a shop-opening spree in Europe.
The Italian tailored-clothing specialist is adding 10 stores to its existing retail network in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and Benelux in the fourth quarter of 2018. Moreover, five large-scale Boggi Milano stores are slated to open in the region in the first three months of 2019.
Founded in Italy 80 years ago and headquartered in the Swiss canton of Tessin, Boggi Milano operates more than 165 stores in 35 countries. The first mono-brand store opened on Milan’s Piazza San Babila in 1964. Turin followed in 1987 and Geneva in 1996. Following a change of ownership in 2003, when it was acquired by the Italian family Zaccardi, Boggi’s own-store network has expanded rapidly, and the brand is to be found solely in company-owned or franchised mono-brand stores.
Germany is particularly in Boggi’s focus, and the company has 16 doors in the country in cities including Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, Munich, Nuremberg, Leipzig and Munster. Stuttgart opened this week, and 2019 will see two additional doors in Munich. Germany generates 14 percent of the brand’s total sales, though the company does not disclose financial figures.
For its retail presence, Boggi prefers two-floor stores of about 2,150 to 3,200 square feet in city center locations and spaces of around 1,600 square feet in shopping centers. The latest stores have a new look and existing doors in key cities in Germany will be refurbished to reflect Boggi’s new in-store design. This has been lightened up considerably, with a reduced use of wood for a more open feel, while the lighting itself has a warmer tone. The brand’s signature orange, more of a raw leather brown, is complemented by mid-blue shades, as seen in the stores’ inviting new lounge areas, where customers can simply sit and relax.
Another feature is the dedicated area for accessories, which joins store sections for Boggi’s formal line of tailored clothing as well as accessories, the increasingly important “easy formal line” of tailored separates and more casualwear, and Su Misura, or made-to-measure.
Dressed mannequins are plentiful, as are floor-to-ceiling photographs of looks from the season’s ad campaign, as Boggi has found that many customers, both online and in-store, like to buy the entire looks as suggested.
“Our store push is basically about strengthening our presence in markets where Boggi is known and performing,” commented Giuseppe Galasso, chief merchandising officer. Germany is known as a difficult market to break into and sustain, but Galasso countered, “We are doing fine in Germany. I think we are in a market segment where there’s no one else. That is, no one offers a product with an Italian feel in this price and environment.”
Boggi Milano suits retail from 400 euros to 1,000 euros, depending on the construction and fabrication, with made-to-measure, which is offered in 28 stores in Europe, running upward of 1,000 euros for suits. The core price point of sport coats is 400 euros in the ready-to-wear collection, which include tailored business looks and more relaxed models in wovens and jerseys. Trousers and casual pants range from 119 euros to 179 euros, shirts 65 euros to 129 euros, sweaters from 99 euros to 449 euros for a cashmere custom-fit cardigan, and outerwear from 199 euros for a light shirt jacket to 795 euros for a woven yak town coat.
“We are a consumer-centric product brand,” stated Galasso. Regarding Boggi’s clientele in Germany, he said “our sweet spot is the 30- to 45-year-old, but we see we are also engaging younger consumers…like the youngest brother looking for a suit for his first interview or his first date. For him, we are inspirational, as the 25-year-olds want to look 35. For older guys,” he continued, “We are a commodity brand.”
Boggi’s online business has grown over the last three years, and generates 5 percent of sales. “It’s a very important store for us,” he said. Boggi has also gone omnichannel, winning the 2018 Retail Technology Awards Europe for Best Instore Solution and Best Omnichannel solution for its integrated program. Boggi offers Click & Collect (buy-online, pick-up-in-store), Reserve in Store (browse-and-book-online, try-on-in-store) and Order in Store (products not physically present due to limited space can be ordered on app-optimized tablets in store, and delivered to the customer’s home or other desired address).
Boggi considers the in-store experience so crucial to the brand’s growth and success that it set up an internal business school, the Boggi Milano Academy, in 2016. The courses are conceived for all staff, and provide guidelines on what it calls the “Boggi Milano Selling Ceremony” to provide every customer a noteworthy experience in all Boggi Milano stores worldwide.
The brand’s home market of Italy, where it operates 70 stores, remains the sales motor. Beyond Western Europe, Boggi also has stores in Hungary, Russia, the Ukraine, Georgia and Romania. With 22 stores, Boggi has a strong presence in the Middle East, and what Galasso termed a “good presence” in Asia, with stores in Singapore, Macao, Malaysia, South Korea, “and for sure China in the near future.” Paraguay, Peru and, as of this season, Mexico are also on Boggi’s retail map, but at present, the U.S. is not on Boggi’s radar, he remarked, though it seems to have attracted American consumers’ attention. “Eight percent of our e-commerce sales come from the U.S.,” he noted.