October 16, 2021 fashion

Italian fashion house Missoni seeks to double online sales in two years


Italian fashion house Missoni is set to double its e-commerce sales in two years as the luxury label adapts to new market realities following the onset of Covid-19, according to its chief executive.

Online sales currently account for 20 per cent of total sales at the heralded Italian label compared with 8 per cent a year ago, Livio Proli told The National in an interview.

“We were confident of growth in our e-commerce channels, but no one was prepared for the boom in online sales last year,” he said.

The global personal luxury goods market could shrug off the hit from the coronavirus crisis as early as this year as Chinese and US shoppers help sales recover to pre-pandemic levels, consultancy Bain & Company said in a May report. The market could reach between €280 billion ($324.46bn) to €295bn this year.

Missoni’s sales in the US have doubled in the first three quarters of 2021 compared with the previous year because “there is strong awareness for our brand”, Mr Proli said.

Missoni, which is well-known for its brightly coloured, zigzag patterns, was founded by Ottavio and Rosita Missoni in 1953 in the small northern Italian town of Gallarate. The Missoni family maintains majority control of the company, after selling a 41.2 per cent stake to the state-backed Italian investment fund FSI in 2018.

“The main goal for Missoni is to go to China and the Asia-Pacific. We plan to focus our investment on opening stores in China and reinforce our distribution in Korea and Japan. Our main focus for the next five years will be the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, with a special emphasis on China,” Mr Proli said.

Missoni, which is well-known for its brightly coloured, zigzag patterns, was founded by Ottavio and Rosita Missoni in 1953 in the small northern Italian town of Gallarate. The Missoni family maintains majority control of the company, after selling a 41.2 per cent stake to the state-backed Italian investment fund FSI in 2018.

Mr Proli, who was hired in May 2020 after a long tenure at Giorgio Armani, said Missoni’s motto is “to be a luxury and contemporary brand as well as to achieve a suitable growth respecting our DNA and richly inspiring history”, he said.

The brand will hit the refresh button by respecting its DNA and iconic heritage. Consumers are appreciating this change, Mr Proli said.

The brand’s creative director Angela Missoni, daughter of the founders, stepped down from her position after 24 years at the fashion house in May this year.

“We delivered a five-year plan, approved by shareholders, that foresees the business improvement through the development of the Missoni lifestyle, a combination of all Missoni collections and categories of products,” the chief executive said.

As part of the change, Missoni recently stepped up hiring for its digital department to cater to demand from consumers, mainly millennials.

“We are striving to create a new culture within our team with younger people and a different mindset. Going forward, the company will be a mix of the energy of young people and seniority of old employees,” Mr Proli said.

Missoni, under Mr Proli’s guard, is also expanding into other business areas such as property to fuel growth. It recently partnered with Dar Al Arkan, a developer in Saudi Arabia, to launch a Dh800 million residential tower in Dubai.

The Urban Oasis tower, situated along the Dubai Water Canal, will be Missoni’s second co-branded residence project globally after a tower in Miami, Florida, in the US. It consists of 38 floors of high-end one, two and three-bedroom apartments and four-bedroom penthouses with luxury interiors from MissoniHome, run by co-founder Rosita Missoni.

“We are not co-investing in the Dubai tower. After designing the Missoni Baia in Miami, Florida, now for the second time, Missoni is exporting its distinct living concept to Dubai,” Mr Proli said.

“Missoni is involved in the design concept of the tower, including the style, fittings and décor. We’re also offering a range of furnishings and home accessories, as we believe these elements will be very attractive to homebuyers and investors.”

Construction of the tower is currently under way and will be completed before the end of 2023. It has reached level 15 in construction, Missoni said.

The project also marks Missoni’s first co-branded property project in the Middle East as well as Dar Al Arkan’s regional expansion with its first project in the UAE.

To launch our second real estate-related development, we had to be certain we have the right partnership and approach to the project,” Mr Proli said.

Missoni is currently focused on delivering the Urban Oasis tower to the highest standards.

“Of course, if there are other opportunities for co-branded projects, we would consider them. It would all depend on what the project is and the standards would have to match Missoni’s,” the chief executive added.

To a question on why the Italian luxury label decided to launch its first Middle East branded residence project in Dubai, Mr Proli said: “it’s very much like Miami in terms of the vibe and the lifestyle, which made it a natural choice for us to extend our home and living concept.”



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