Philipp Plein wants to grow via e-tail, sportswear, luxury hotels
The Philipp Plein fashion group is back centre-stage with a plethora of investment projects. At the inauguration of the first Plein Sport store in Italy, at the Oriocenter shopping mall opposite Milan Bergamo airport, the group’s eponymous founder and designer presented his road map, centred around the global expansion of the group's leading label, Philipp Plein, the relaunch of the Plein Sport brand, the development of a golfing line and the forthcoming opening of a luxury hotel in Milan.
The Philipp Plein group, which besides the eponymous luxury label also owns high-end menswear label Billionaire, is back on the growth track after a troubled pandemic period. In 2022, it generated a revenue of €210 million, and is forecasting €225 million for fiscal 2023, equivalent to a 7% growth. “I want to run a profitable business, a company that grows organically, and is able to expand its retail footprint via its own cash flow,” said Plein, speaking to a handful of journalists.
The group's luxury label, Philipp Plein, is distributed via some 150 stores worldwide, of which 50 are directly managed. The label generates 50% of its total sales online, as opposed to 5% in 2016, as the group's business consultant Carmine Rotondaro told FashionNetwork.com. E-tail, a channel in which the group has invested heavily, is now a crucial growth driver. Philipp Plein is also distributed via 700-800 multibrand retailers.
The Americas have notably become a key commercial region for the group, which is based in Lugano, Switzerland. The USA are its main e-tail market, and the group also operates a dozen monobrand stores in the country, in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and other cities. But Philipp Plein has also set its sights on South America. It opened a store in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at the end of 2022, and is about to open another in Sao Paulo, as well as wanting to expand into Mexico.
In Asia, Philipp Plein is present in South Korea with a distributor, Shinsegae. The latter has developed under license a golfing apparel line called Plein Golf. It is available at 15 stores and “it's doing very well, so we’re thinking about introducing it in other countries,” said Plein. Shinsegae is also planning to open five Plein Sport stores in South Korea. “We’re already present in China, where we have an office in Shanghai. But it isn’t our strongest market,” said Plein.
The group’s current big challenge is relaunching the Plein Sport brand, which has been repositioned in the premium segment with an extremely competitive activewear range, chiefly focused on sneakers and distributed exclusively via shopping mall-based stores. The goal is to open between 300 and 400 stores in the next three to four years.
Finally, Philipp Plein is investing in its first luxury hotel, which is set to open next February in the heart of Milan, in a historic building that had for a long time been home to womenswear label Krizia. The number of rooms the hotel has is still a secret, but Plein revealed some details about the project. “The Plein Hotel will offer a variety of initiatives and services. It will have four restaurants, one specialising in Italian cuisine, one in Japanese cuisine, plus a grill room and a bistro-bar. There will also be a beach club and several green areas,” said Plein.
“Each room will have its own sauna and small gym, something that doesn't exist in Milan, for great quality of life. The interiors have been entirely refurbished, with amazing furniture. We’re planning to open the hotel for [Milan] Fashion Week in February 2024, when it will probably be the venue of our runway show,” concluded Plein.
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