“Luxury is the key to the success of department stores”

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An expert look at the future of the luxury department store? Maurizio Borletti, successful retail entrepreneur and former icon shareholder La Rinascente and Spring, will tell you. He will speak at the conference The future of department stores.

Toys replaced by food

Maurizio Borletti was born into commerce, so to speak: he is the grandson of Senator Borletti, who in 1917 launched the La Rinascente brand, the luxury department store chain which today has nine branches in Italy. Borletti was CEO of the famous tableware company Christofle, was a shareholder of La Rinascente between 2005 and 2011, invested in the French department store company Printemps between 2006 and 2013 and is today one of the shareholders of Highstreet, the company that owns most of Karstadt’s products. immovable.

Luxury department stores have thus been the common thread of her career, and it has remained a passion: “As a child, a department store was above all toys for me. Later, perhaps, I became more interested in the fashion department. Now, when young people come to department stores, I think they are mainly drawn to the food department. Food has kind of replaced toys, ”he said in an interview with RetailDetail.

Service and innovation

“Luxury is the key to the success of department stores,” is his conviction. “Why? Because department stores are expensive to run, with high personnel and ownership costs, they need products that are expensive and generate reasonable margins. With commodities, you don’t have those margins. , you have to play on efficiency. Department stores are not so much suited to the products that people buy for a basic need, but rather to the products that people desire as a source of pleasure for themselves or to give to someone else. one, as a gift. “

He himself put this vision into practice at La Rinascente from 2005: “The growth of the luxury sector was important, but companies like La Rinascente had not evolved: they were selling cheap products with poor service. . We have therefore invested a lot in the company: we have embellished the shops, brought back the service, innovated, added new categories, with a whole floor dedicated to food. This gave new impetus.

The power of beautiful places

The biggest threat to department stores isn’t online, but mismanagement, Borletti says. There are plenty of opportunities. “Attracting customers and managing customer relations are still very expensive. In this logic, the department stores have two advantages: on the one hand, they already have the connections, and on the other hand, they have these beautiful locations with a huge passage. You have great opportunities to form a relationship. low cost if you have a lot of traffic. And when you build a relationship, you’re not building it for one brand, you’re building it for multiple brands.

On October 21, Maurizio Borletti will speak at RetailDetail’s international conference, The Future of Department Stores, which will be held at the Shopping Stadsfeestzaal in Antwerp. A unique opportunity to meet an international senior retail executive and learn from his wealth of experience. Through this link you can find more information about the program and you can order tickets.

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