Italian junior fashion companies, in particular those that produce with their own brands and which often have the domestic market as their main outlet, are wondering which road to take in the face of the contraction of multi-brand stores (independent retail in autumn-winter 2021 -2022 covered 12.6% of consumption according to Sita/Smi) and the spread of chains, which now absorb 47% of the market.
Return to growth after a disappointing 2022 (-3.8% the turnover of the Italian junior clothing industry, down to 2.9 billion euros, and -8.8% exports, which account for 40%) and in contrast with adult fashion is the challenge that the Florentine salon Pitti Bimbo has taken up, open until tonight in Florence with the collections of 230 brands, 70% of which are foreign. The response of the companies present at the fair in the face of market difficulties, which add up to production difficulties (increased energy costs, procurement of raw materials), is clear: only high quality and exports will be able to save the sector.
Nanan repeats it, the Romagna brand acquired 100% a few months ago by Nicola Bulgari’s Annabel Holding, which is ready to relaunch by focusing on foreign markets and on renewed products, from clothing to prams, bedrooms, lamps and jewellery. The new creative director is Catrinel Marlon. «We have changed gears and we want to go far, expanding distribution outside Italy thanks to international partners – explains the general manager Claudio Pizzolato – with the aim of becoming a reference brand in the world of children. We want to make a quality product, safe but at a democratic price. In May we will open a 200 m2 shop in the Dubai Mall, while in Italy we are evaluating the opening of shops in Naples and Palermo, alongside the existing ones in Milan and Rome».
Mena Marano, CEO of the Neapolitan Arav Fashion who grew up with more commercial productions (such as Silvian Heach), is also looking at the higher segment, who is now focusing on the John Richmond brand, acquired in 2018, and on the Trussardi junior license. «John Richmond’s children’s lines are doing very well – explains Marano – especially in the Middle East but also in Russia, the most important market after Italy: the sanctions affect garments over 300 euros and do not affect our product, and this has allowed us to grow».
The same goes for Monnalisa, the only brand specialized in the junior sector which is listed on the Stock Exchange and which showed its autumn-winter 2023-2024 collection at Pitti Bimbo: «In Russia we have 50 employees between showrooms and direct stores – explains the CEO Christian Simoni – and our responsible choice was to continue working. Not being affected by the sanctions has opened up market space for us, even if there was then an indirect drop in sales on online platforms, especially the English ones: couriers no longer deliver goods to Russia, and that important market has stalled” . In reality, children’s e-commerce has also dropped in Italy, with a market share that has dropped in the space of a year from 9.4% to 6.2% (according to Confindustria Moda on Sita data).