Skechers to open 500 m2 first Italian flagship in Rome by December
US footwear specialist Skechers continues to expand in Italy, a market for which the group has ambitious plans and where it is active in several projects. At the Micam footwear show in Milan, FashionNetwork.com spoke with David Weinberg, chief operating officer of Skechers, and Sergio Esposito, general manager of Skechers Italia.
“We are currently present in Italy with 18 franchised stores, one of them on the high street, in Rome, and the others within shopping malls, all of them opened with the same partner, and with 11 directly-owned stores located within outlet centres, where we are planning to expand further,” said Esposito. “But the big news this year is that, by December, we will open our first Italian flagship, which will be one of our largest in Europe: a 500 m2 store on two levels in via del Corso in Rome, showcasing the entire Skechers product range,” he added.
“Our international business grew 9.3% in the second quarter of the financial year,” said David Weinberg. “Italy is one of our high-performing countries. We are setting our sights on the €100 million revenue mark on the Italian market, and we are not far from it. Talking about Europe, we invested approximately €25 million in our logistics hub in Belgium, which has been greatly enlarged in the last 15 years, in order to improve automation and production lead times,” he added.
In the next few years, one of the group's objectives is to boost its apparel business: “We are a company which won’t engage in something unless it thinks there is an opportunity to grow. Footwear remains our main business, but apparel is performing extremely well in the countries where it is currently available, in the USA and China, markets where we operate a large number of monobrand stores. In a not so distant future, we will start introducing Skechers apparel on other markets too, including Europe. For example, it will surely feature at our Roman flagship store,” said Weinberg.
Skechers’s interest in the world of fashion is also demonstrated by the collaboration between the US group and Ricostru, the independent label by Chinese-Italian fashion designer Rico Manchit Au, which will be unveiled on Saturday September 21 at the Milan Fashion Week.
At the same time, Skechers is keen to continue to focus on its established consumer target of 25 to 54-year-olds, but it is also working to forge stronger links with younger consumers, by giving a fresh twist to some of the brand’s past best-sellers. “Though we are a very large corporation, we also continue to cultivate a direct relationship with our wholesale partners, which are one of our core assets,” said Esposito.
In 2018, Skechers recorded a revenue of $4.64 billion (€4.10 billion), equivalent to an 11.5% increase. In H2 of the current financial year, which ended on June 30, it generated record sales of $1.259 billion (€1.118 billion), up 10.9%.
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