The recently opened Gucci store in Londons Sloane Street reflects the new strategic positioning of the leading luxury Italian brand, placing it closer and closer to top position held by French giant Louis Vuitton. Sloane Street is the fifth worldwide Gucci store which illustrates Frida Gianninis vision for the future of luxury. The previous strategic openings in New York, Rome, Munich and Hong Kong have successfully reflected Guccis new positioning, while maintaining a strong local flavor through dedicated products and a perfect architectural integration.
The new Gucci stores blend luxury with intimacy, while heritage architectural elements complement the accents of modernity. The signature Gucci materials such as marble and rosewood are being enhanced by new materials such as smoked bronze glass and polished gold.
It is not only a fresh look and a modern set up but also an upgrade to a higher level of luxury, which places the Gucci brand above key competitors such as Louis Vuitton. The new stores seem to perfectly illustrate Guccis return to its essence roots and brand values and stress its distancing from general trend and temptation among its competitors to diversify product lines. In spite of the challenging international market conditions, PPR, Guccis owner resists all such temptations and follows the commitments expressed more than one year ago by the former Gucci CEO Mark Lee. Mr Lee stressed Guccci will never be associated with mobile phones, home wear, hotels or restaurants. Even the strategy of slowing down retail expansion seems to benefit the leading Italian brand and so is the flexibility in retail development.
Louis Vuittons obsessive strategy to directly control its sales operations, which once seemed a key to success, is today questionable under the current economic conditions. So is the positioning of the Vuitton brand which has become more and more affordable and available and its stores more standardized. Although some key international stores have impressed at the time of opening especially in grandeur and size, its present retail image seems to become more and more lackluster.
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