Fluid luxury »: perhaps this is how Zygmunt Bauman would have defined this time in which ownership changes are chasing each other even in the high-end industry, thanks to the pandemic that has rewritten the accounts and destinies of many companies. Rumors of the sale (always denied) by the Qatari fund Mayhoola, which bought it for 710 million euros in 2012, or of listing, also regularly flock to Valentino.
A return to positive numbers after a heavy 2020
The atmosphere that reigns in the historic Roman headquarters of Palazzo Mignanelli expresses something else: trust, planning. Seated on a sofa in a room overlooking the square, the CEO Jacopo Venturini shares his vision of Valentino, for the first time after 15 months from his inauguration, arrival which is actually a return, the third, after the steps in the management of Prada and Gucci. “We are very positive for the future – he explains -, also thanks to a first half of 2021 closed with revenues up 64% compared to the same period in 2020. We are also close to breaking even with 2019, our best year”.
If Valentino had reached 1.22 billion in revenues two years ago, Covid’s 2020 had closed with a decline of 28%. But it was precisely this year that Venturini needed to fine-tune the strategy for the maison to come: “Valentino is the most successful Italian fashion house in the world, and it is precisely on the concept of maison de couture that we want to shape the future – he continues. the ceo -. A tailor-made, customer-centered approach with which to establish an intense, intimate relationship. A relationship that begins before the customer enters the store, when he knows us through all our multiple points of contact, especially the digital ones “.
Digital must be human
Digital that has allowed the luxury industry to overcome the hardest moments of the pandemic: “The penetration of e-commerce has gone from 5% in 2020 to 15% in 2021. But digital is not just for selling, technology it needs a human touch. Digital projects launched on Valentino’s website, such as Valentino Insight, have increased visit time by 50%. The streaming of our Des Ateliers show in Venice and the arrival on Tik Tok allowed us to reach 30 million in earned media value in July, an increase of 65% compared to a year ago ».
An ambitious retail plan, with the United States and China in the foreground
However, almost as a paradox, digital has also reiterated how much care, physical contact with the customer is crucial. And this is why Valentino’s growth will also include strong investments in the network of stores, today 225 in 139 locations, especially in Europe and China: “55% of our sales are distributed in our stores and 45% in the wholesale, but within the next five years the ratio will be 70 and 30% – continues Venturini -. We are also working on the new architecture of the stores. We are planning new openings in cities where we are not yet present, such as Geneva and Venice. We focus primarily on the United States, one of our most important markets after the Middle East, where the newly opened store in Soho, New York is already doing very well, and where we will open in Miami and New Jersey in 2022. For Mainland China we have planned major openings, such as in Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Our approach to that market has been too cautious in the past, but we have a lot of potential and we need to make ourselves known better ». Telling Valentino was the goal of “Re-Signify”, an exhibition organized in Shanghai last December and which will stop in Beijing in October, before leaving for other countries.