Luxury experiences in China – A KPMG study about the brand Salvatore Ferragamo

Paul Cadman, Asia Pacific CEO and Christian Foddis, Regional General Manager, Salvatore Ferragamo, interviewed by KPMG.

Ferragamo has been expanding its retail footprint in China for more than two decades and the market is now a key one for the whole group. “Ferragamo’s heritage is Italian, an Italian Family business with all of products ‘Made in Italy”, explains Asia Pacific CEO Paul Cadman, Salvatore Ferragamo. “In the early years there was a strong association with Hollywood and we supplied footwear to many iconic movie stars, a tradition which continues today. – Latest project: ‘Shoes for Star project with Jeon Do Youn’ (Salvatore Ferragamo via Facebook) – ‘International aclaimes Korean actress Jeon Do Youn was welcomed by the Ferragamo family at Palazzo Spini Feroni, Ferragamo’s headquarter since 1938, as part of the Shoe for Star project: she met with expert shoemakers who measured her feet to make her personal wooden lasts, and with the shoe designers who created a costumized pump shoe with her tastes and requests.’

“Ferragamo built a very strong position in the US market on those foundations, so it is only more recently that we have really considered Asia Pacific surpassing the US as our largest market. Things have really changed in the past few years and our fastest growing market is now clearly China. When you include Chinese people travelling we believe close to half of all our consumers worldwide are from Greater China and other parts of Asia.”

Today, the shoe is indeed very much on the other foot. With 51 stores across China, including domestic and airport locations, Ferragamo has a significant presence which few other top-tier brands can rival. “Looking back, we probably could have been more aggressive in our expansion over the last year or two,” Mr. Cadman explains. “We took a relatively cautious approach and our sales far exceeded our expectations. In fact, 2010 may prove to be one of the best years in our brand’s history, (with all regions performing well) and with Asia leading the growth trend.”

With a good presence already, shopcount is not something that preoccupies Mr. Cadman; he is keen to emphasise thate the company will not set targets to open a certain number of new stores in the coming years. Instead, the focus is increasingly on store image, location, floor size, store positioning and consistency. “If a new mall comes onstream in a second-or third-tier-city in China, we need to consider taking a large space because we might not see another property of that quality coming onstream for some time”, Paul Cadman says. “Where in the past Ferragamo may have opted for a 150- or 200-square-metre store in lesser known cities, now we will look at spaces of up to 300 square metres. As these locations become more significant to our business, relative to the larger cities, it is critical that we continue to upgrade our stores, commit to these locations and continually revitalise the retail experience.”

Christian Foddis, Regional Manager of Salvatore Ferragamo, has task of travelling to many dozens of locations across China and working with the China management team, managing the company’s growth. He sees very clearly how the opportunities exist in second- and third-tier cities. “The hardware and the infrastructure are developing so fast,” he remarks. “The dramatic improvement in many cities and development of travel links such as airports have provided new retail opportunities that give brands the opportunity to implement the best and freshest retail concepts. There are probably more malls opening in China than in the rest of the world put together, so that means there are really exciting opportunities for innovation and growth.”

Mr. Foddis believes mall operators in China have a good perception of Ferragamo. “We are one of the names that our competitors, and the landlords, will look for in a property. They know we can deliver results in our space.” Ferragamo is committing resources to digital marketing and building online sales and formats. The first Asian market to launch will be Korea and Mr. Cadman expects China will follow quickly after. While this could be a particularly critical success factor in China, he does not believe digital marketing will be effective if approached in isolation. “In the last (couple of) years we have adjusted our mix of above-the-line and below-the-line marketing activity with more focus on events, personal interaction and experience,” Mr. Cadman explains. “The perception of our brand in China is shaped by the quality and comfort of our products, the perception of our stores and the adjacencies to our brand within small locations. The use of digital media such as SMS and iPhone apps has uge potential, but these technologies will be far more powerful once a customer has had the personal experience of using our products and visiting our stores.”

Salvatore Ferragamo AD-Campaign Spring/Summer 2011

“For the Spring/Summer 2011 advertising campaign, Ferragamo reiterates its link with the Big Screen through images shot by photographer Mikael Jansson that reinterpret the seduction and bohemian spirit from the classic French film, “La Piscine”, the source of inspiration for the  season’s collections. The story told through a series of poolside images that convey sensuality and seduction. Dominated by summer sunlight, the photos evoke the type of languid, luxurious summer holiday. expected of the Salvatore Ferragamo jet-set couple.

Just as in Jacques Deray’s 1968 film starring Alain Delon, Jane Birkin and Romy Schneider, the campaign shots describes a sophisticated poolside seduction, with the natural allure of the protagonists’ tannesd bodies, the lazy spontaneity of utter realxation, the casual elegance of a cocktail at sunset and embraces in evening attire before a party on the beach. The feeling of this refined summer holiday is distinctive through elegant details and looks put together with nonchalance and ease. Slow, relaxed movements … The reach for beauty without compromise … Rarified moments of timeless elegance interpreted magnificently by Daria Werbowy e Clement Chabernaud, and impeccably captured by Mikael.”


Related Links –

‘Salvatore Ferragamo Resort 2012’

by ANDREA JANKE,  Designer & Fashion-Editor of ANDREA JANKE Finest Accessories

Follow Andrea by Twitter @andreajanke


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