SAN LAZZARO DI SAVENA, Italy — Italian handbag maker Furla plans to more than double sales in the next five years, stepping up investment in new shops as it taps consumers’ growing appetite for accessible luxury goods.
In recent interview from their 18th century villa outside the Italian city of Bologna that serves as the group’s headquarters, Furla’s Chief Executive Eraldo Poletto said the fashion house known for its clean, linear designs would consider all options to fund the sales push, including debt or a possible stock market listing. “To be able to compete we must grow more aggressively than we’ve done so far. My aim is to reach 500 million euros in revenues within five years,” Poletto said.
Furla’s sales rose 45 percent between 2010 and 2013, boosted by store openings. The group expects to add nearly 40 new single-brand shops to the current 367 by mid-2015, mainly in Europe and Asia-Pacific. The two areas accounted respectively for 30 percent and 14 percent of 2013 group sales.
Poletto said Furla would press ahead with shop renovations in Russia despite tensions in the region. It will also strengthen further its presence in Japan, which in 2013 accounted for 23 percent of sales, second only to Italy.
Many Italian luxury brands are looking to expand into the U.S. market right now, and Furla recognizes that opportunity as well. Poletto said, “Also the States, where we currently make 9 percent of sales, can become a much more important market for us over the next few years.”
Italy’s Furlanetto family launched the first collection of Furla-branded bags in the 1970s and the group has since become known for its sober, minimalist style.
Furla also wants to invest in its product mix after creating a business unit dedicated to shoes earlier this year and launching a men’s collection targeting Asian clients. It is considering licensing the brand for watches and beauty products.
With debt currently at negligible levels, Furla could turn to banks to fund investments but it is also working to be ready for a possible stock market listing.