Jan 18, 2010
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Italian menswear brand Zegna sees growth in 2010

Jan 18, 2010

By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

MILAN (Reuters) - Leading global menswear brand Ermenegildo Zegna sees a return to growth this year as it celebrates its 100th birthday, after closing 2009 with an 8 percent fall in turnover, its chief executive said on Saturday 16 January.

Zegna's luxury tailored suits make it a leading worldwide name for men's fashions alongside names such as Hugo Boss and Giorgio Armani.

Gildo Zegna told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of Zegna's show at Milan's autumn/winter 2010/2011 menswear fashion week, that the brand would open at least 20 new stores this year.

"We should expect another year of highs and lows so 2010 should be approached with fastened seatbelts. There could be some turbulence so it is best to be prepared," Zegna said.

"But it should also be approached positively, and with this being our centennial we are on the offensive. It will surely be a year of growth."

Luxury groups are focusing on winning back consumers as they emerge from the worst economic crisis in decades, which has sapped demand for designer clothes, shoes and accessories.

A tepid recovery is seen this year and the menswear market has not been spared, with the turmoil in the financial sector hitting suit and tie sales hard.

Zegna, which has more than 500 stores worldwide, said the company saw turnover fall 8 percent last year to 800 million euros ($1.15 billion).

"This is decent ... This year there will be growth ... it's impossible to know how much yet but surely we will grow again."

Zegna said the company would "return to invest in Europe" with store openings in Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam, Athens and Munich planned as well as continue investing in Greater China.

Emerging markets represent 40 percent of its business.

"We opened 20 stores in 2009 and we will open at least 20 stores in 2010," he said. "We will open new stores as well as refurbish others."

On Saturday 16 January, Zegna took inspiration from nature for its mainly dark blue, green and grey collection which featured polo-necks with knit collars, duvet-like jackets and sharp tuxedos.

"There are many new clients who want to dress in a casual manner, there is a lot of attention on accessories," he said.

(Editing by Patrick Graham)

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