Corneliani beefs up management team, boosts presence in USA, France

Italian luxury menswear label Corneliani deployed a new corporate strategy a year ago, and has strengthened its management team with a strong focus on marketing and distribution. In June 2016, Corneliani sold a 51% stake in the company to private equity firm Bahrein Investcorp, the remaining 49% being held by members of the eponymous founding family, still active in the business.


The Italian menswear label's Paris store - Corneliani

The new shareholder immediately announced an "ambitious and very aggressive" expansion plan, with the objective of doubling the label’s revenue in 5-6 years, notably through a spate of store openings. A year later, Corneliani still doesn't seem to have switched to a higher gear, having posted a revenue of €110 million, the same it generated in 2015. Italy remains Corneliani's main market, with a 30% share of sales, followed by Russia and the Middle East.

CEO Paolo Roviera, who took charge in July 2016, has mostly been busy laying the foundations for growth, as well as consolidating Corneliani's position in its main markets. He has recently strengthened the label's Americas management team by putting Maurizio Mantovani in charge.

Mantovani worked for many years at Corneliani's direct competitor Ermenegildo Zegna in the USA, and will be supported by Sean Hieter, recently appointed Senior Vice-President Sales for the Americas division. "We hired professionals who know this market well. The plan for the next two to three years is to beef up Corneliani's wholesale distribution network in North America, a region which has been somewhat neglected in the past," said Paolo Roviera to FashionNetwork.com.

The USA currently generate 10% of Corneliani's overall revenue, and the target is to raise their share to 20% in three years. The label is distributed in the country via 65 multibrand stores, including 15 shop-in-shops in department stores, and in the short term there are no plans for opening monobrand shops.

France is another important target market for Corneliani: a shop-in-shop was recently opened at the Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris, where the label is also seeking for premises on rue Saint-Honoré, having previously established a twin foothold in the French capital, at the Le Bon Marché department store and with its own store at 44 avenue George V.


Maurizio Mantovani, the new man in charge of the Americas division - Corneliani

Corneliani currently operates a total of 10 directly owned monobrand stores worldwide, and another 80 franchised ones, while the number of multibrand clients has fallen from 850 to 650 in one year. "We have cleaned up our distribution network, especially in Italy and the USA, where we streamlined our client pool, concentrating on the most significant ones," said Roviera.

"We want to improve the quality of our retail network, to make our products more visible in the shops. We aren't keen to sell one product category only," he added.

Another strategic focus is merchandising: last year, Paolo Roviera appointed Stefano Gaudioso as General Merchandising Manager, and in November Cristina Cavatore became the label's Marketing Director. "We decided to restructure our organisation, making it more sensitive to the market's needs and more responsive to them, and also less self-centred," said Roviera.

In the wake of the sale to Bahrein Investcorp, the son of founder Carlalberto Corneliani, Sergio Corneliani, stepped down from the Creative Director role which he held for many years. The collection is designed internally, and Corneliani has not shown internationally since June 2016. It is still featured at the Milan Fashion Week though, where it will present the Spring/Summer 2018 collection next June, and it is planning to return to Pitti Uomo next year. 

Translated by Nicola Mira

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