Premium Italian accessories brand Furla is gearing up to open a third UK store after its global sales grew 30% to €339m (£261m) in 2015.
The 3,770 sq ft store on London’s Brompton Road will open during the first half of 2016. Further details have yet to be confirmed.
“This store will be very important for us,” Furla chief executive Eraldo Poletto told Drapers. “It’s between Harvey Nichols and Harrods, and there is high footfall and a strong Middle Eastern presence.”
Furla’s other UK stores are on Regent Street in London and in Manchester.
At constant exchange rates, Furla’s sales were up 25% on the year before. Like-for-likes increased 23%. Sales in the UK and Ireland were up 64% and 34% respectively. (Continues below the advert)
“We’re not starting from big numbers, but it’s a sign we’re doing something right,” said Poletto.
The brand opened 62 stores across all markets in 2015, bringing its total to 415. In the UK, it relocated and upsized its outlet in Bicester, while it also brought the operation of its two concessions in Irish department store Arnotts in house.
Furla’s turnover has doubled over the past five years. Poletto attributed its success to a number of factors, including a focus on product.
“We’re a premium lux accessory brand made in Italy: that’s not a label, it’s a mindset. It’s about the attention you’re giving to the product.
“We borrow from luxury what’s good – quality, craftsmanship, store environment, customer experience – but always surprise the customer with great prices. For me true luxury is about being smart, buying something you love at the value you think is proper.”
Furla has also launched new categories, including a fledgling men’s line. “It’s still a small part of the business but it’s growing nicely, particularly in Asian markets,” said Poletto.
“Japan is our biggest single market outside of Italy. In Japan, Korea, and Asia in general, there is a high level of sensibility about men’s product. We can be more creative than with European and US customers.”
A study published yesterday by Santander Corporate & Commercial identified luxury luggage, handbags and saddlery as the UK’s fastest growing sector.
Production in the sector was worth £205m in 2014 compared to £133m in 2013 – a year-on-year increase of 54%.
On the premium accessories sector in general, Poletto said: “There are some specific challenges, such as the issues in Russia, currency [exchange rates] and stock market volatility, but there is also a strong middle class emerging from Asia, who are tired of luxury and are trading down. Not because they don’t want to spend money, but because they need to have a good reason to.
“There are great opportunities in the sector – if you do it right.”
Furla’s UK wholesale stockists include Fenwick, House of Fraser, Brown Thomas and Arnotts. The brand is owned by the Furlanetto family.