Translated by
Nicola Mira
Dec 5, 2019
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Missoni accelerates direct retail growth in China and US, diversifies into watches

Translated by
Nicola Mira
Dec 5, 2019

Missoni is driving forward on all fronts, bolstered by the Fondo Strategico Italiano investment fund (FSI), which acquired a 41.2% stake in the Italian label last June. It is busy especially in the areas of retail expansion, product diversification and licensing. And Missoni recently announced it is entering the watches sector, working with the luxury division of US group Timex.

Missoni is launching its first watches line with Timex - Missoni

The licence agreement signed with the division (which is based in Switzerland and notably manages the licenses for Versace and Salvatore Ferragamo), covers the design, development and distribution of the Italian label’s watches. The first models will be available from autumn 2020 at Missoni stores, authorised retailers and online.

“The watches will associate the impeccable precision of a Swiss-made movement with a uniquely Italian-style design, characterised by the inimitable aesthetic that has made the label’s collections famous, featuring zigzag patterns, combinations of textures, materials and colours, as well as prints and lettering,” said Missoni in a press release. The collection will consist of about 40 models for men and women, priced between €400 and €2,000.

Creating a watches collection is the latest instance of Missoni’s diversification drive, after the label inked a five-year licence deal with Safilo last year to produce the Missoni and M Missoni eyewear lines. It is also keen to promote its home decoration and accessories line, Missoni Home, developed by T&J Vestor, an Italian company specialising in home linens.

“The Missoni Home licence is a business worth approximately €20 million. We want to strengthen this segment internationally and we are working on a project for a Missoni Baia flat in Miami,” Michele Norsa told FashionNetwork.com. Norsa was appointed vice-president of Missoni after FSI, in which he is a partner, acquired its stake in the label.

“Nearly €70 million has been invested in Missoni since the operation with FSI, which consisted in a share capital increase. Among other things, much work has been done to set up a governance system with the [Missoni] family,” added Norsa.

The company currently generates revenue of €150 million, 75% of which comes from exports. It is focusing chiefly on organic growth. For example, it internalised the development of its young line M Missoni, which was previously licensed out, putting it under the supervision of Margherita Missoni. She is the daughter of Creative Director Angela Missoni, and is a member of the third generation of the label’s founding family, enabling the latter to look to the future and ensure Missoni’s continuity.

Missoni’s Spring/Summer 2020 show - © PixelFormula

Under Margherita’s aegis, M Missoni has extended its range introducing clothes made of fabrics other than just knitwear, and developed various capsule collections. “[M Missoni’s] price positioning is more affordable than that of the main line, but it chiefly targets young and Asian consumers, with an emphasis on lighter, more summery items,” said Norsa.

Handbags and China on the cards for 2020

Another major project Missoni is working on is the launch of a handbag line in 2020, broadening the scope of a label that until now was chiefly focused on men’s and women’s ready-to-wear.

Finally, on the direct retail front, it is stepping up the pace of its expansion. It currently operates about 20 monobrand stores, and is planning several new openings, and to enter the Chinese market in 2020. The label never had a presence in China except during the 1970s, when it operated a store in Hong Kong. Missoni now wants to open directly owned stores in China, with the help of a consultant, beginning with three shops in Beijing, Shanghai and perhaps Chengdu.

Again in Asia, the label opened its first store in Singapore last month. By the end of December, it also intends to open in Dubai, where it is taking back control of its distribution, previously managed by a franchisee. Equally, in London, where Missoni formerly had a franchised store, it will reopen a directly owned one.

The US is another important market for Missoni, which recently opened a store in Bal Harbour, near Miami, and relocated its New York flagship, moving it slightly higher up Madison Avenue, at street number 680, between 61st and 62nd Street. In the US, Missoni is planning two new openings: one in Los Angeles and the other, for M Missoni, in Aventura, between Miami and Palm Beach, inside the Aventura Mall shopping centre.

As for its stock market listing, while the operation has been looked at, it is still early days for it. “It is certainly a good solution, the logical one after an investment fund’s exit. But the more likely time frame is within the next four to five years,” concluded Norsa.

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