MILAN, July 27 (Class Editori) -- A retail Silk Road. The love story which has led two different Chinese giants to establish a partnership with the Italian multibrand Antonia can be defined in this way. As a result, huge department stores have been opened, dedicated to the selection of brands which have make the multibrand from Milan successful. "Since 2016, we have opened a large space on a surface of about 3,000 square meters in Macao, together with the local group Modern avenue (Editor's note: the former Canudilo group, which is renowned in Italy because it controlled Dirk Bikkembergs). Starting from last year, we have been present in Hong Kong inside the K11 mall MUSEA in Victoria dockside, in partnership with the businessman Adrian Cheng (see MFF of last June 30)", as Maurizio Purificato, who guides the Italian multibrand with Antonia Giacinti, explained to MFF.
"With Cheng, in particular, we are going to inaugurate a new important space in Wuhan next April, a city which is restarting stronger than ever after the crisis caused by coronavirus. And in the following years, many physical openings are going to take place in the Chinese mainland", the businessman has added. In this interview with MFF, he described his strategy aimed at establishing the brand Antonia in Asia and accelerating the e-commerce development in the whole greater China and Asia. By also outlining the Italian fashion retail scenarios in the post-COVID period.
How did you manage to enter the Chinese market? And what role does it play in your strategy?
The entry barriers are very strong, but Antonia is renowned as international excellence. Our partners think that the product mix we chose is unique and, thanks to their important investments, we are creating a powerful brand awareness. In the future, we will further develop e-commerce, with the aim of managing it by our own.
What is the secret of your format on the Asian market?
During all our partnerships, even when we opened Excelsion with Coin, we have always kept our own architecture designed by Vincenzo De Cotiis, the visual of all the stores, and in particular the product selection. This is essential.
Which is the Macao and Hong Kong department store reaction?
In the financial year of 2019, Antonia Macao, which has been opened since 2016 in the Parisian mall, together with the Modern Avenue group, recorded a turnover of more than €15 million. In addition, Hong Kong has acted very well but data are partial and influenced by different temporary situations, which have contained the tourism presence in the Chinese mainland.
What impact did Coronavirus has and why will you open precisely in Wuhan in 2021?
Revenge spending is a reality. For this reason, we are very optimistic about the Wuhan opening, which had already been planned for 2020. We will have an important space in the new K11 mall of the entrepreneur Adrian Cheng and with him we are working on other physical stores. I believe that, in the end, we will be active in more than five cities in the Chinese mainland. In addition, we will surely reach Shanghai and Beijing.
Have you trusted local buyers in order to find out Chinese market requests?
I would like to say that our buyers are the best worldwide. As for the Chinese market, we work together with a girl from Hong Kong with a seven-year working experience in Joyce. She manages the entire Asian team.
Which scenario would you expect for the multibrand market in Italy after the COVID-19 impact?
Italy is an atypical market with about 300 multibrands active on the whole territory. There is an over-distribution of the product. Brands are reviewing this presence. Gucci, for example, has declared that it will reduce its wholesale presence from 110 to about 40 stores in Italy. Probably, only a few trendsetters will last among the multibrand stores. For this reason, we, from Antonia group, are already focusing on brands such as Bottega Veneta.
Could you consider to list on the Stock Exchange after all this growth?
Let us not go too far… (He smiles). Our strategy is becoming increasingly more brand and less boutique. With a partner who has worked with me in the publishing industry, we are representatives of Hypebeast for Italy, which has nine million followersonly on Instagram. A very important channel of access for Z Generation and Millennials, researched by all the brands. This also means turning into a group.
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