“They come from Europe, but mostly from Asia, Russia and Brazil travelling through Europe. They were over 1 billion only in 2011, they use to buy a lot, and they’re actually moving the geography of the World: travellers are drivers for future growth in luxury”. That’s what Michele Norsa, Chief Executive and CEO Ferragamo spa said at the seminary he held about the next luxury geographies at La Sapienza University, for the cycle I Professionisti della Moda.
“Dubai counts with no more than 800.000 inhabitants”, explained Norsa, “but its airport is reached by tens of thousends of travellers who walk by the shops waiting for their flyes, and often buy luxury goods for theirselves and, as if it were a sort of a ritual, make presents from their journey. Airports have turned theirselves into Shopping Cathedrals“. A great chance for fashion luxury brands such as Ferragamo, who has opened indeed over 150 airport stores all over the world. “Our most important clients come from Russia and Brazil. They use to purchase abroad rather than in their own countries, especially in Europe – since in Brazil, to make an example, import taxes are quite high ”. Despite this, Italy remains unimportant for the company retail, with a 10% percentage mostly due to foreign travellers. “The 50% of Ferragamo’s breakdown is actually in China”, continued Michele Norsa, “which stays as our best international market. Leonardo (Ferragamo) had the precursory intuition of opening our first store there in 1994, and from then on we have strenghtened our position in China so much that we decided in 2008 to celebrate our 80th foundation anniversary just in Shanghai”. Thanks to this bold enterprising attitude towards markets like China and Brazil (as well as to the significant wholesale benchmark which allowed the company to reach and to indirectly invest in hard markets such as Egypt and Indonesia), Ferragamo has grown up so much to have a capitalization of 3 billions euro, “one of the first 25 companies all over the world” as Norsa himself specified.
This international vocation has always characterized the brand right from the start, when in 1938 Salvatore Ferragamo began his activity in USA conquering the greatest Hollywood stars, Marylin above all. 84 years after the brand continues to dress up famous celebrities like Hilary Swank and Angelina Jolie, with unexpected exceptions like Lady Gaga (who chose the last fall/winter collection’s pied-de-poule adopting it even over nails, tights and sunglasses).
Today Ferragamo keeps on staking its all on foreign trades, differentiating its own product due to the destination market: “in Mexico we have the best sales in menswear, in Asia women only wear certain colours and avoid others, while in India we manage to sell just accessories since people still choose to wear traditional clothes. Our SKT (Stock Keeping Units) are over than 14 thousends, so it’s quite difficult to keep a definite style cohesion in our collections. But this is unavoidable when a company hold its presence in many countries so different from each other. And yet there’s a large opportunity to grow even more”.
Almost a year ago (on june 2011) Ferragamo was listed in Italy – despite its international attitude-, and even in the actual negative junture its shares have doubled their values. The company seems to be ‘healthy’, and is preparing to open within the next year new stores in China and in South-eastern Asia.
Last but not least, this year, on the 50th annyversary from Marilyn Monroe’s death, Ferragamo will celebrate her through a dedicated exposition to be held on 19th june in Museo Salvatore Ferragamo in Florence, where will be exposed a selection of Marilyn’s clothes and accessories, together with a collection of fourteen ballerinas. Made in Ferragamo, of course.