How is your company performing in 2018, and what are your expectations for the rest of the year?
We are performing very well both in terms of L4L growth and overall turnover. L4L growth is close to 6% compared to the previous year. The MILAN DUOMO flagship store’s performance is again exceptional this year.
The first year for the new ROME TRITONE flagship has been a very positive one, consistent with our expectations. The Rome store on Via del Tritone is a new department store in a city that has never had a store quite like it, and so there is no doubt that it needs time for it to become well known and loved. We are also enjoying great success in terms of visitors, who are both locals and tourists.
How would you define the essence of the Rinascente brand? To what extent does Rinascente relate to lifestyle? What is the profile of your most loyal customers?
Rinascente is certainly a continually developing company, that is always focused on the customer and their ever-changing needs, ensuring to never fall short of their expectations. All ten Rinascente stores seek to be a “part of the cities” where they are located, a meeting place that people come to visit. For us, this is not a case of individual stores acting as a “chain of stores”, but rather a “collection of stores” where visitors are not only offered a shopping experience, but first and foremost a true, enjoyable experience. Stores are also always being continually revamped, so that they can keep up with the times and the customers’ expectations.
What is the percentage of Italian customers versus foreigners? Could you list the nationalities of your top customers?
Our customers are split equally between Italians and foreigners (50% vs 50%).
The top 10 nationalities in terms of customer numbers are: 1. CHINA, 2. RUSSIA, 3. SWITZERLAND 4. UNITED STATES, 5. FRANCE, 6. JAPAN 7. U.A.E., 8. GERMANY, 9. THE UK, 10. TAIWAN
Luxury department stores, especially in the US, have felt the impacts of e-commerce. What is the situation for your company in this respect?
For the time being, we have not been impacted. The history and direction of department stores in Europe is vastly different to those in the US.
For years American department stores were only about price, the product and discounts, neglecting enjoyment, the store’s upkeep, the architecture of the floors and beauty.
In Europe this is not the case, and RINASCENTE has strived to increasingly build on aspects relating to entertainment, events, “out of context” window displays and collection of stores, that are integrated into the city housing them.
For us, it is primarily about EXPERIENCE, that potentially but not necessarily can transform into a SHOPPING experience. The thrill of having a 2000-year-old Roman aqueduct in store, or breathtaking terraces looking out across Rome or the spires of Milan’s Duomo right in front of you is not something that can be imitated on a website.
Enjoying dinner with SAINT PETER’S dome illuminated just metres away can neither be imitated on a website. To experience this thrill, you have to physically be in the store.
What are the competitive advantages of Rinascente? Tell us about your most recent undertakings in transforming shopping into an experience.
Rinascente is a unique place of innovation, creativity, elegance, sensations, emotions, and experience, a store that has a great story whilst looking into the future, and is also a Made in Italy hub and at the same time a window onto the world. Rinascente is also the place for exclusive events, where prominent figures make personal appearances, and new products are launched. Every store, a “collection of stores”, is a genuine centre of attraction, where shopping turns into an engaging, enjoyable and satisfying experience that not necessarily turns into a shopping one. With the continuous renovation of the stores, Rinascente wishes to provide real solutions to new needs, whilst keeping in line with its mission, which has always been “for the city, with the city, in the city”.
Just to give you some concrete examples, the in-store Dolce&Gabbana runway shows open to the public, “The Green Life” project dedicated to a green lifestyle and sustainability, the “When Food meets Fashion” event, a crossroads between food and fashion, and the On Demand Sales service in our Milan Duomo store come to mind…
Major luxury department stores have been introducing wellness / fitness facilities, extensive dining options and arts exhibitions. What do you think about this?
Rinascente offers more than a wide range of high-end brands: already in 2007, in our Milan flagship store, we opened an entire floor devoted to food experiences. In our flagship store in Rome, we have an absolutely extraordinary feature on the basement floor: the archaeological site, the Aqua Virgo Aqueduct, that Emperor Augustus opened in 19BC. This area is set out for exhibitions and special events. The Turin store, following renovation works, will house a gym with a completely fresh concept.
Rinascente has always had an interest in and kept an eye on art and design: the art projects in the Milan flagship store window displays and the exhibitions housed within the Exhibition area of the Rome Tritone store are proof of this.
Which are the best performing product categories at your stores? Are there any product lines you plan to expand?
The product categories performing best are: shoes, apparel, food, cosmetics, design and we would like to extend our product lines further in WOMEN’S READY TO WEAR and WATCHES.
How important are your relations with the luxury brands in your portfolio? Tell us more about the pop-up spaces and the products exclusively available at your stores.
We start with the presumption that the brands are perfectionists, professionals and experts: our responsibility is to create the conditions that allow them to express themselves freely. To use a metaphor, RINASCENTE is the editor of leading figures who are able to write incredible stories.
We have direct relations with all brands. We work together with the same aim, focus on our customers, and we try to offer them the best experience and deals. Along with the brand counter, we have a weekly pop up in store with capsule collections and product previews of well-known brands, but also emerging ones too.
What is your approach towards the digital world, in terms of marketing and e-commerce?
We believe that digital marketing is a world undergoing huge developments, that we approach with professionalism and invest in greatly.
ON DEMAND SALES that we launched a year ago is the instant messaging service that allows for Customers to search for their desired products in the Milan flagship store and send them to wherever they like.
We are working at a Group level on our OMNICHANNEL strategy. I don’t think that it will take a long time for E-COMMERCE to be introduced.
What are the new things to expect in 2018?
For us, 2018 is a year brimming with projects in many areas. On Demands Sales service will soon also be available using WeChat, so that we can also reach the Chinese clientele We are working to improve many stores with renovation projects.
The complete renovation of the Turin store on Via Lagrange, that will go from three to six floors with a total surface area of 7500m2, is key, transforming the building into a fully-fledged mini flagship store.
The renovation process in the Florence store, which is based on the new store concept: “The STORE OF CRAFT”.
The special Christmas project organised by one of the major fashion brands on the international scene that will involve the Milan and Rome flagship stores.
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