A.R.P. reinvents retail
"Before, brands developed their retail network through franchises. Today, taking also into account the difficult situation within the wholesale channel, companies prefer having a one and only spokesperson to which to delegate the development of their business in certain markets. This partnership concept is a stage along the way to the future of retail."
Backed by this assessment, Lorenzo Bassetti, whose family has been active in the textile and retail sector for nearly a century, created A.R.P. (Advanced Retail Project) with his brother Marco in 2001, a company offering turnkey solutions to brands wishing to entrust it with their retail expansion.
Active in Italy, Spain, Germany and Switzerland, A.R.P. has notably contributed to the development of the Ferrari Stores, by opening some twenty points of sale in Europe, all while developing the merchandising line of the famous sports car manufacturer with several derivative products.
Among its clients, the Italian group also counts Illy, The North Face, Vans, Eastpak and G-Star Raw, with a battery of new openings on the programme. Starting with a G-Star Raw flagship store in Milan, inaugurated this Monday, 27 October. The 4,300 square foot store occupying two levels is located on pedestrian street Via Dante, Milan's nerve centre for shopping, with a fantastic view of the famous cathedral.
Since May 2013, A.R.P. has been seeing to the retail expansion of the Dutch denim brand, which it was able to reposition in Italy in some prestigious locations in Rome, Florence and Milan. "Our strength lies in our ability to find good locations and to put the brand back in its good positioning. For us, these are locations that should adapt to the brand and not the other way around," points out Lorenzo Bassetti, managing director of A.R.P.
"Before, G-Star did not have a very specific image in Italy. We were able to reposition it in some of the top stores. By the end of the year stores will also be opened in Venice, near de San Marco, and in Madrid, in the Calle Serrano, and in Barcelona at the beginning of 2015," he continued.
The company has also been one of the main partners of The North Face, of American Group VF Corp, since 2006, with which it has opened 7 stores in Italy and two in Madrid, while two new openings are scheduled for Germany and both in Munich, one at Kaufingerstraße 24 and the other in the Pasing Arkaden shopping centre.
By 15 December, A.R.P. also plans on inaugurating the very first Eastpak store in the world, in Milan in the Galleria Passarella, which opens onto the very commercial and central Corso Vittorio Emanuele, over an area of nearly 1,300 square feet spread out over two levels. It will be adjoined by a Vans store. Two other VF Corp brands. "We are in the process of creating a genuine Eastpak house, in which a large range of travel products but also derivative products we developed ourselves to create an Eastpak lifestyle will be offered," explains Lorenzo Bassetti.
Indeed, in 2007, A.R.P. created LB Style & Consulting, a division of the group specialised in the search for style and product development in order to enrich and to adapt its partners' offers to different markets. An experts in the retail market and local consumer habits, the group thus completes its offer with "tailor-made" solutions for its clients.
To better display its know-how, all while developing another activity, in 2012 the Rome-based company launched Mountain Affair, its own outdoor apparel brand for the city and the mountains. Three stores have been opened in Rome, Bologna and in the Franciacorta outlet centre, as well as an e-commerce site. The next step: the inauguration of a 4,300 square foot showroom in Milan's city centre at the intersection of Via Dante and Via Meravigli, with the idea of installing another point of sale, also in Milan, in the Brera district.
At the same time, A.R.P. decided to diversify itself and take on the restaurant industry with "Molto", "a restaurant concept tied to Italianality," which proposes simple cuisine revisiting the classic recipes of the peninsula with quality ingredients. Two restaurants have been opened in Rome.
These two activities from A.R.P. itself represent 20% of its total revenue, which comes in at around 30 million euros, 70% of which are generated in Italy.
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