The first mono brand GUCCI store in Bucharest is opening by mid December this year, despite initial rumours of a possible delay. The Gucci store will cover a surface of 280 sqm and will be situated on the groundfloor of Athenee Palace Hilton, Bucharest’s leading five star hotel which has recently completed a major renovation.
According to Oliver Petcu of CPP Luxury Industry Management Consultants Ltd, ”Gucci will have the best location in Bucharest, not only being positioned in the very heart of the city, on the leading shopping high street of Calea Victoriei, but also being on the right section of Calea Victoriei, with steps from secure parking facilities, and with large windows assuring excellent visibility.” The luxury market in Romania has been among the worst affected in the Central and Eastern European region, with sales drops of up to 20% in 2009 and 30% in 2010, compared to 2008. According to CPP, a recovery is not expected before the Fall season of 2011. Despite the difficult market conditions, GUCCI will likely have a good performance in Romania due to the notoriety and desirability of the brand which ranks among the top three preferred luxury brands by Romanian wealthy consumers, but also due to the fact that the brand has a large collection of leather goods.
Unlike many parts of Calea Victoriei which do not have a pedestrian area or have a very small one, the Athenee Palace has a generous pedestrian area. The store will also benefit from being located within the Athenee Palace Hilton hotel and opposite to the Radisson Blu (newest 5 star in Bucharest), both hotels attracting a good number of local wealthy customers in their food and beverage outlets. The new Gucci store will be within walking distance from the mono-brand boutiques of Rolex (just opened), Paul & Shark, Ermenegildo Zegna, Emporio Armani (just opened) and Estee Lauder. The location of Gucci is also exceptional in comparison with Louis Vuitton, which is situated within the lackluster shopping gallery of the JW Marriott Hotel, within a distance from the city center.
The decision to open in Romania is a recognition of the potential of the Romanian luxury market, rival Louis Vuitton operating a very successfull store in Bucharest since 2008. Other luxury brands with mono brand stores in Bucharest include: Louis Vuitton, Canali, Hugo Boss, Moschino, Paul & Shark, Ermenegildo Zegna, Pal Zileri. Most other luxury brands (fashion and accessories) are present within multi -brand stores.
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