Furla

Furla Names Giorgio Presca CEO

Furla Names Giorgio Presca CEO

MILAN — Giorgio Presca is joining Furla as the Italian accessories company’s new chief executive officer.
He succeeds chief operating officer Devis Bassetto, who also temporarily held the position of CEO after the exit of Mauro Sabatini in April.

Presca was most recently CEO of Clarks. He previously held the role of CEO of Golden Goose, Geox and Citizens of Humanity through his 30 years in the fashion industry, starting at the now-defunct giant manufacturing company GFT. He has also held executive positions at brands including Diesel and Levi’s.

Giovanna Furlanetto, president of Fondazione Furla, said Presca “is a skilled leader with a strong ability in reinforcing global fashion brands and driving profitable and safe growth.”

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The executive, she continued, “shares our values and our determination to establish Furla as a real democratic brand, the only Italian brand in its category. This appointment also stands to highlight my whole family’s willingness to continue with the full control of our business and lead it into the future.”

This comment is material, as it was made after several sources speculated that the Furlanetto family was considering a sale of a stake in the company.

As reported in March, Milan-based sources said Furla had tapped Lazard as its adviser and that a dossier was circulating in Milan.

In 2016, owner Giovanna Furlanetto set in motion plans to take Furla public, but this project never materialized. Furla was founded in Bologna in 1927 by Aldo Furlanetto, Giovanna’s father.

“Furla is a uniquely positioned brand with a strong heritage and high contemporary appeal. I look forward to work with my new colleagues, Mrs. Furlanetto, and the board to build the pillars for the future success of Furla and maximize its unexploited potential,” Presca said.

Sabatini in January last year succeeded Alberto Camerlengo. The latter was named executive president of the board. Sabatini for more than 18 years was CEO of Effeuno, a leather goods manufacturing company he founded in Tuscany and Furla’s supplier and longtime partner.

In 2018, Furla took control of Effeuno, which is based in Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, a 40-minute drive from Florence. The takeover was part of Furla’s strategy to invest in Italy and to strengthen the group’s supply chain, boosting production.

As reported, a strong performance in North America and in the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions contributed to a 12 percent increase in first-half revenues at Furla, which totaled 155.3 million euros.

Thanks to a recovery of local spending and a return of tourist flows, the Europe, Middle East and Africa area saw a 43 percent jump in revenues. In North America, sales soared 74 percent.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions enforced in the first quarter of the year in Japan, the largest single market for the company, revenues in the region increased 6 percent.

On the other hand, the measures to curb the spread of the pandemic in China and a rationalization of Furla’s points of sale in the Asia Pacific area drove revenues in the region down 27 percent.

As of June 30, the global number of stores amounted to 432, compared with 452 in 2021.

Last year, Furla revenues amounted to 305.8 million euros, up 7.6 percent compared with 2020.

Giorgio Presca

Furla CEO Exits Accessories Company

Furla CEO Exits Accessories Company

MILAN — Furla on Thursday reported a 7.6 percent increase in sales in 2021 compared with 2020, while also revealing that its chief executive officer Mauro Sabatini is exiting the Italian accessories company.
Until the arrival of a new CEO, chief operating officer Devis Bassetto will lead Furla.
Sabatini, who in January last year succeeded Alberto Camerlengo, had also been named executive president of the board. Sabatini has deep knowledge of Furla and the leather goods industry. For more than 18 years he was CEO of Effeuno, a leather goods manufacturing company he founded in Tuscany and Furla’s supplier and longtime partner.
In 2018, Furla took control of Effeuno, which is based in Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, a 40-minute drive from Florence. At the time, Effeuno already exclusively produced Furla’s accessories, employing more than 100 workers and producing 2 million bags and small leather goods a year. The takeover was part of Furla’s strategy to invest in Italy and to strengthen the group’s supply chain, boosting production.

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The company did not provide a sales figure for 2021 at presstime, but said they were achieved despite the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan, the main single market for the company. Furla group sales in 2020 totaled 290.8 million euros and in 2019 were 502 million euros. Last year, Sabatini admitted Furla recorded a double-digit decrease in 2020 due to the impact of the pandemic, characterized 2021 as a year of transition, setting the foundations for a recovery in 2022 or 2023.
As reported, Fulra owners are considering a sale of a stake in the Italian accessories company, according to market sources.
Sources say Furla has tapped Lazard as its adviser and a dossier is circulating in Milan. It is also understood that former Valentino CEO Stefano Sassi is consulting with Furla on a potential deal.
In 2016, owner Giovanna Furlanetto set in motion plans to take Furla public, but this project never materialized. Furla was founded in Bologna in 1927 by Aldo Furlanetto, Giovanna’s father.

Furla Owners Said to Be Considering Sale of Stake

Furla Owners Said to Be Considering Sale of Stake

MILAN — Furla’s owners are considering a sale of a stake in the Italian accessories company, according to market sources.Sources say Furla has tapped Lazard as its adviser and a dossier is circulating in Milan. It is also understood that former Valentino chief executive officer Stefano Sassi is consulting with Furla on a potential deal.
As reported, Sassi most recently worked with Etro and is said to have helped the Italian fashion brand achieve the sale of a 60 percent stake to private equity giant L Catterton last year, in a deal valued at 500 million euros. The executive joined Valentino in 2006 and was instrumental in leading and growing the company through the acquisition in 2012 by Mayhoola.

Furla had no comment on the speculation and a representative for Lazard could not be reached.

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“Obviously, an injection of capital is always useful and we know that many private equity funds are flush with cash now, but at Furla, I believe there is an issue of succession,” said a source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
In 2016, owner Giovanna Furlanetto set in motion plans to take Furla public, but this project never materialized. “She changed her mind,” said the source, and “now is not the time to reconsider this decision.” Furla was founded in Bologna in 1927 by Aldo Furlanetto, Giovanna’s father. Her son Giuseppe Costato, who is one of the owners, is not involved in the company’s management.
“These are early days, she is testing the market. It is not clear whether she is seeking an industrial partner or merely someone to help finance the company’s development to be competitive in a crowded accessories arena. In any case, the brand’s appeal remains strong,” believes the source. Furla has a strong and expansive network of stores globally, with a solid business in Europe and growth potential in Asia-Pacific. Japan has historically been the company’s main single market.
In 2016, TIP Tamburi Investment Partners invested 15 million euros to issue a convertible loan for a capital increase, which would have been automatically swapped into Furla shares at an initial public offering that was supposed to happen within 2018 but never took place. At that time, TIP also committed to underwrite an additional 15 million euros on the day of the listing at the same economic conditions offered to the market. A further quota of shares would have been allotted to TIP and sources estimated another 15 million to 30 million euros would have been paid then. TIP, which included the Marzotto, Loro Piana and Ferragamo families among its investors, has over the years invested in Remo Ruffini’s holding company, Ruffini Partecipazioni, indirectly buying a stake in Moncler, Hugo Boss and Ferrari.
Furla is helmed by chief executive officer Mauro Sabatini, who in January last year succeeded Alberto Camerlengo, named executive president of the board. Sabatini leverages in-depth knowledge of both Furla and the leather goods industry. For more than 18 years, he was CEO of Effeuno, a leather goods manufacturing company he founded in Tuscany and Furla’s supplier and longtime partner.
In 2018, Furla took control of Effeuno, which is based in Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, a 40-minute drive from Florence. At the time, Effeuno already exclusively produced Furla’s accessories, employing more than 100 workers and producing 2 million bags and small leather goods a year. The takeover was part of Furla’s strategy to invest in Italy and to strengthen the group’s supply chain, boosting production.

As per the latest figures available, Furla group sales in 2019 totaled 502 million euros.

Mauro Sabatini and Giovanna Furlanetto
courtesy image

Digital Drives Micam Brands Amid Physical Return

Digital Drives Micam Brands Amid Physical Return

MILAN — Italy’s small and medium sized footwear companies accelerated their digital strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic and those efforts are beginning to pay off, especially in key markets such as China.Exhibitors at Micam’s spring 2022 footwear trade show at Milan’s Rho Fairgrounds, which ran from Sept. 19 to 21, said their first-half sales were salvaged by a buoyant performance of digital sales, in the absence of travel shopping and an overall spending slowdown.
“Major markets like China are balancing themselves. We’re seeing a shift in China. They used to travel and now they want to buy at home. And despite the pandemic, sales generated from China were up 106.4 percent compared to the first half of 2020,” said Tommaso Cancellara, Micam’s chief executive officer.

After a 12-month hiatus from the physical fairs, exhibitors were eager to return to face-to-face meetings. Some 652 brands, of which 262 were from overseas, exhibited at the world’s largest high-end footwear trade show. Morale was higher, though the number of exhibitors still pales in comparison to pre-COVID-19 norms of 1,300 exhibitors and 2,000 collections.

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Spanish sandals brand Alohas, which took part in Micam’s emerging designer showcase last year, books about 80 percent of its sales online and 20 percent through its wholesale channel. Its Instagram marketing and the success of its unique on-demand fashion model — driven by its monthly drop collections — has boosted sales in foreign markets like the U.S., which represents 40 percent of its sales.
“Our wholesale business is also growing fast and in order to create a deep relationship with clients, we need to get to know them in person,” said Alejandro Porras, Aloha’s founder and business developer, who underscored the importance of physical fairs over digital ones.
Last year, Micam, the largest business-to-business physical footwear event in the world, launched a b-to-b digital platform to enhance its exhibitors’ digital capabilities by partnering with California-based tech firm NuOrder.
“Buyers can get to that last step of ordering,” commented Cancellara, adding, however, that high-end buyers will always need to touch the leather.
Across the board, the Italian footwear industry is in the midst of a hard-earned recovery, though “pre-pandemic levels remain out of grasp,” reported Italian footwear consortium Assocalzaturifici. Italy’s statistics office ISTAT reported that in the first half of 2021, industrial production index rose by 13 percent and revenues by 22 percent, according to a report compiled by Italian business association Confindustria. “International sales due to work performed on contract for major luxury multinationals has limited the gap compared to the year 2019,” stated the report. Compared to 2019, sales and industrial production are still 5 and 15 percent lower, respectively. The industry shed 5,000 footwear and components industry workers since the start of the year.
In terms of exports, volume rose 24.8 percent between the months of January and May, while in value terms, the footwear industry surged 31.5 percent versus the same period a year earlier. The footwear industry generated 4.02 billion euros versus 3.8 billion euros recorded in value terms the first five months 2021, while a total of 81.8 million pairs were exported compared to 78.7 million pairs exported over the same period, a year earlier.

Exports of small and medium-sized companies and micro realities have also been helped by tech start-ups like Italian Artisan, which has built a trusted sustainable ecosystem for premium foreign brands by linking premium brands worldwide with Italian factories and artisans in just a few clicks.
“Minds have changed as the sector continues to digitize and micro, small and medium sized companies embrace a phy-gital format,” its founder David Clementoni said, noting that the organization doubled its sales in 2021 compared to its 2020 levels.
Other digital-tech players distinguished themselves for innovative personalized services that showcase Italian creativity on a global level. The customization project launched in 2020 by Seriplanet, an Italian-based screen and digital printing company, focuses on personalization while also helping brands resurrect deadstock from previous seasons into something completely original.
“We want to offer this opportunity to buyers, a service that was once reserved solely for big groups,” said sales director Lorenzo del Biondo, explaining that the goal is to put the consumer in direct contact with stylists. “We want to revolutionize the process and integrate the skills used for main partners by employing a drop shipping method — print in one day and send it off.”
Imanol Martínez Gomez, marketing and international business development director for FICE, the Spanish footwear industry federation, said like Italian businesses, Spanish players were hard-pressed to amp up their digital capabilities. “We had a four-year plan that was condensed into 12 months.”
“The focus going forward is digital, establishing more efficient pricing, working closely with retailers and leaner management and production methods,” Gomez continued, noting that Spanish brands over the last year have been hit by an increase in prices of raw materials, up about 30 percent on the year. Italian brands echoed this, noting steep hikes in calf-hide prices and a fourfold increase in shipping prices due to restrictions and shipping bottlenecks from China and in the Suez Canal.
“Our strategy going forward is to select retailers carefully and try to support them with credit lines, while planning marketing events and physical trunk shows in the U.S.,” said Karl Schlecht, owner of Parabiago Collection, which owns Thierry Rabotin.

The usual space dedicated to Micam’s emerging designers showcased items from 12 designers: Italy’s Alessandra Balbi; Oakland, Calif. native Marcus Thomas of Marcus Alexander; Brazil’s Ammabile; Spain’s Momoc; O.T.A. Paris; Sri Lanka’s Thread; Skua Studio from the Netherlands; Umoja from Guinea and Congo; Nigeria’s Titi Adesa; Pakistan’s Meher Kakalia; Syria’s Daniel Essa, and India’s Jerelyn Creado.  With more foreign designers than ever before, creations paid homage to their nation of origins, re-imagining age-old craft and eco-designs that respect the environment from which they emerged.
Larger players like Furla also revisited their existing strategy. Its debut at Micam marked its renewed focus on its footwear category as a part its core business.
“Omnichannel, its technology and innovation are the best ways to reach our customers and the new generations who have a more digital approach to buying new products. The online facet of our business will have to represent 30 percent of our sales by 2025,” said Mauro Sabatini, Furla’s CEO, noting that the company’s foray into footwear was motivated by forecasts of ample growth potential of the sector into 2025.
In terms of trends, Uberta Zambeletti, owner of Milanese concept store Wait and See, noted a rise in chunky, brick-like platforms and square toes in both sandals and closed-toed shoes.
“I was happy to see bright pastels and metallics and very juicy sorbets in the neon range,” mused Zambeletti, who launched her digital platform in March 2020, investing heavily in Facebook and Instagram marketing. “Digital saved us with 45 percent of our sales generated from Instagram worldwide. We closed 2020 with a mere 19 percent drop compared to 2019, our peak year. I am delighted to say that the U.S. market is growing and is now our first market after Italy.”

Furla USA Files for Chapter 11, Plans Stronger Comeback

Furla USA Files for Chapter 11, Plans Stronger Comeback

MILAN — Furla USA has filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 in New York, but the Italian accessories company does not plan to exit the American market for good.
The decision was made in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown, which forced Furla to temporarily shut its retail operations in March. Reduced traffic caused by the health emergency also impacted the performance of the existing stores.
President Giovanna Furlanetto told WWD that Furla “took a much needed look at the American market after months of trying to renegotiate leases with landlords to no avail. We found landlords in the U.S. not as open to discussing rents as in other countries.”
While Furlanetto was not at liberty to discuss details of the restructuring plan at the moment, since it has to be first deposited in court, she said Furla will take steps to return to the American market with a leaner and improved organization.

“We need to restructure the market in a more contemporary way, and through this, we expect future growth. The U.S. market remains interesting and strategic, but in line with our long-held beliefs, the stores we operate must be profitable. We must have a network that is lighter and more sustainable.”
The company entered the U.S. market in 1989 and today counts 14 stores, of which eight are outlets. The U.S. represented 7 percent of Furla’s 2019 revenues.

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“We have to adapt to these unprecedented times and utilize this opportunity to reflect and reassess. Refocusing our U.S. strategy to fewer niche boutiques allows us to prioritize excellent customer service, while continuing to deliver the best quality in our products and invest in areas of growth like e-commerce and wholesale to achieve meaningful, long-term success,” Furlanetto explained. The reorganization will enable Furla USA “to restart stronger than before.”
The existing Fifth Avenue flagship will continue to stand, and Furla plans to renovate it and model it on the new store concept and blueprint introduced in Milan in September. “It is a strategic location and important for our image,” she said, noting it had suffered because of the vicinity to Trump Tower. She also admitted a number of the brand’s stores were no longer in attractive locations.
While the pandemic also hit its wholesale business in the U.S., the company will continue to build relations with storied department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s, she offered.
Prior to the pandemic, Furla USA began focusing on reducing operating and overhead costs by directing its strategy toward initiatives driving e-commerce and wholesale.
Furla, founded by the Furlanetto family more than 90 years ago in Bologna, now counts more than 500 monobrand stores worldwide.
Furlanetto is relying on the brand’s heritage, “impeccable” Italian craftsmanship and a strong core business model.
Furla group sales in the 12 months ended Dec. 31 were flat compared with 2018, totaling 502 million euros, reclassified according to the IFRS accounting principles. In 2018, revenues amounted to 513 million euros, but reclassified they totaled 504 million euros. Earlier this year, chief executive officer Alberto Camerlengo said the company voluntarily cut back on 18 million euros in revenues by slashing sales derived from the gray market as part of a repositioning strategy set in motion by Furla.

The company has just opened two stores in Canada, noted Furlanetto.
As reported, Furla has opened a new manufacturing plant in Tuscany, located between Florence and Siena. Covering 210,600 square feet, and designed by Geza architects Stefano Gri and Piero Zucchi, the complex will house product research and development and an academy.

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