Articles in category: News


The 12th China Department Store Summit


China Department Store Summit


Today China represents a huge and growing market for luxury brands and retailers. The China Department Store Summit, held every year in Jinjiang, brings together the major protagonists of the retail sector, in China and abroad. In fact, the Ministry of Commerce, together with the most important retail associations in the country are the sponsors of this summit.


The 12th China Department Store Summit took place on the 27th and 28th of March in 2014 and saw the participation of speakers from the Chinese Government and from important companies worldwide, such as Gao Hongbing, Vice President of Alibaba and Zhang Yuejin, General Director of Lufthansa Shopping Mall. I was one of the only two speakers that were not Chinese, together with Matthew Shay. The latter is the President of the National Retailer Federation of United States, the most important association of retailer in the world that works in close collaboration with the Obama administration.


Salvo Spagna - China Department Store SummitThe China Departments Store Summit is without doubts an important event to attend for a luxury advisor and for everyone interested in this delicate topic. With my almost 30 years of experience in Made in Italy luxury goods (that comprehend food, fashion and furniture), this is the right auditorium to speak to and with about the future of retail, the creation of a new experience for consumers and various cases of brand building. China is now one of the main markets for Made in Italy luxury goods and to keep this trend constantly growing, it is important, for Italian and foreign companies interested on Italian luxury, to understand how the market works in this country.


This is why my team and I are focusing our attention on China, by helping companies to navigate in this peculiar market, by valorizing Italian brands and by organizing sell and purchase of goods. If you need advices on the subject, do not hesitate to contact me!


In the meantime, if you have curiosities or you need tips, you can find here an extract from my book, Make a Profit with Italian Luxury, which is also translated in Chinese.

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Crackdown on Fake Italian Luxury Goods in China


Fake Italian Luxury Goods in ChinaIn the luxury business, counterfeiting remains a problem but steps are being taken to stamp it out. This is just as well, as this illicit activity threatens the reputation of Italian luxury brands and of the dealers who stock them. I was very pleased to hear that solid progress is being made on the Chinese front.


The Italian Trade Agency (ITA) is working to halt the counterfeiting of Italian goods in China and to draw attention to 30 or so fake Italian brands. An anti-counterfeiting desk has been set up in Beijing by Italy’s ITA to fight forgery.


This is good news for Italian businesses and, of course, for customers who stand to benefit from being certain that if something says ‘Made in Italy’ on the label, it really has been ‘Made in Italy’.


China, a major export destination for Italian luxury products, is now working openly with Italy to ensure that Italian goods sold in China are genuinely made in Italy.


While there is still a long way to go, the China-Italy cooperation is very positive news. As I know only too well, counterfeiting within the luxury industry is a major problem and I welcome this news wholeheartedly, as I am sure will businesses and, of course, customers.


Be aware, though, that counterfeiting remains a major problem. Luxury retail businesses need to pay very close attention to exactly what they are selling.


While the label may carry the name of a globally known Italian fashion brand, the item may not have been made in Italy by the company mentioned on the label. Some of these fakes are extremely hard to spot. Only those with a trained eye and years of experience can tell the fakes apart from the genuine articles. As you may know, my company offers an authenticity checking service and we can ensure that your luxury business will receive the genuine article. Unfortunately, certain companies in Italy will attempt to pass counterfeit goods off as the real thing. If you don’t take the right steps, it is all to easy to end up with a shipment of counterfeit goods.


If you want to keep up with luxury industry news and issues, such as counterfeiting, subscribe to my newsletter.

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How is the Global Luxury Marketplace Performing?


How is the Global Luxury Marketplace PerformingAccording to Italy’s Altagamma Foundation, while world luxury market growth is no longer in the double-digit territory seen between 2009 and 2012, it is still healthy.


Altagamma’s May 2014 update confirmed that the 2013 trend in global luxury consumption is continuing into 2014. The 16 international analysts consulted by Altagamma for its May update concluded that the global luxury market will grow by around 6% in 2014.


Armando Branchini, Vice Chairman of Altagamma stated, “we expect a growth rate of +9% in Japan, +8% in the Middle East, +7% in Asia, +6% in the Americas and +4% in Europe, while for the Rest of the World we forecast growth of +7%. Accessories, Jewellery and Watches are expected to be the best performing categories (+6%), followed by Clothing (+5%). Finally, the Altagamma Consensus predicts that the average EBITDA of businesses in 2014 could grow by 7 percentage points compared with 2013″.


As you may well have noted from the figures, Altagamma expects demand for luxury products to be healthier than average in Japan, the Middle East and Asia. Note too the categories Branchini highlighted: Accessories, Jewellery and Watches.


While Italy is well known for its luxury accessories and jewellery, it is not so well known for luxury watch production though makers of bespoke watches do exist in Italy. To obtain more information on this subject, contact my staff or myself. We can also help your business find little known, though highly, expert makers of accessories and jewellery in Italy. These makers are often more than happy to produce exclusive lines for clients.


In addition to accessories, jewellery and watches, Italy has a world wide reputation for the quality and style of its apparel. Yes, there are Italy’s big brands such Armani, and Dolce and Gabbana, but there are also many smaller not so well known fashion houses which can supply luxury retailers with high quality Italian-made clothing. Some of these makers can produce bespoke clothes for demanding customers, whereas others can create whole lines of luxury clothing tailored to the requirements specific markets.


Even if growth has slowed, the global luxury market is still exceedingly healthy and now is a very good time to identify products which will appeal to your business’s customers.


If you need any assistance finding suitable suppliers in Italy, contact myself, Salvo Spagna, or my team and we can point you in a profitable direction.

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A Best Seller in China – My Book on Doing Business in Italian Luxury


Make a Profit with Italian LuxuryAs you may know if you are a regular reader of my blog on the Italian luxury business, I wrote a book Make a Profit with Italian Luxury. It’s a kind of how to guide on how to do business in Italian luxury.


If you’ve read the book, you’ll know that this is not as simple is it might seem at first sight. Guidance for anyone wishing to deal in Italian luxury products is essential or success may well remain little more than a tempting mirage.


Well, my book is available in Italian, English and Chinese. The Chinese language version is proving very popular in China and has become something of a best-seller. Enterprising Chinese entrepreneurs know the value of Italy as a brand and are keen to know just how to sell Italian luxury goods in China. Demand for luxury goods, from low end to top end luxury goods is exceptionally healthy, so China’s business owners want a piece of the, very profitable, made in Italy action – hence the popularity of my book and, I have to say, the demand for my services in China. Indeed, these days, I’m spending more and more of my time there.


Note though, that my guide is not solely aimed at Chinese entrepreneurs, it can help businesses around the world understand how Italy’s luxury market works and, more importantly, how it can be made to work for them.


If you think you can simply set up a few meetings, catch a plane to Italy and come away with a fistful of lucrative distribution contacts, think again. You really do need to do your homework before setting up those meetings and before buying a plane ticket to Italy. With preparation your trip to Italy stands a much higher chance of being as successful as you want it to be. On the other hand, devote little or no time to preparation, and your business trip to Italy could turn out to be an unmitigated disaster.


Maybe you already know what I’m talking about and have just about given up all hope of doing business with Italy’s luxury brands. If this this the case, don’t lose all hope – first of all, read my book which will in itself give you a head start on your like minded competitors. After having read Make a Profit with Italian Luxury, if you are still unsure how to proceed, get in touch and I can help you polish up your approach to Italian luxury brands and greatly improve your chances of success.


Italian luxury can be a highly lucrative business opportunity, but preparation is key to success. As Chinese luxury dealers know, my book can help.

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Healthy Growth Expected in India’s Luxury Goods Market in 2014


Luxury Market GrowthLuxury industry insiders are predicting that India’s luxury products market will grow by around 17% in 2014. While 2014 may start slowly, it is expected that demand for luxury items will pick up in the second half of the year.


In 2012, India’s luxury market was worth around $7.85 billion according to the ‘Changing Face of Luxury in India’ luxury market report by the Confederation of Indian Industry and market research firm IMRB International.


The India luxury market report states that products such as apparel, accessories, personal care, wines & spirits, electronics, watches and home décor are expected to account for 45% of luxury sales in India by 2014.


With the exception of electronics, Italy’s luxury makers offer products in all the categories listed above, so for luxury dealers specialising in luxury goods made in Italy, 2014 in India could turn out to be a bumper year. There’s no reason why 2015 won’t be as successful either as the world drags itself out of the economic downturn.


Luxury dealers operating in high-end luxury in India shouldn’t ignore the lower to middle end of the luxury market either. As India’s economy picks up, more and more Indians will be wealthy enough to make luxury purchases. The high end luxury market will grow too.


Right, so the news about India’s luxury market is very positive, but while your business may well be in a good position to exploit the growth, it will need luxury products which appeal to customers. This will ensure sales match demand and keep profits healthy. However, you may not be sure which products made by Italian companies will sell to your luxury customers in India. Maybe you are unsure about colours, sizes or styles. Perhaps you wish to commission special lines for your customers which combine Italian style and quality with Indian tastes. If this is the case and you want to make approaches to Italian luxury goods makers to discuss your requirements, then you might like to speak to my staff and I.


Making approaches to Italian companies is not always easy unless you know how. Get the approach wrong and you may miss out on potentially highly lucrative business opportunities. If you are unsure about how to make an approach, or maybe you have already tried and failed, then my staff and I can help. We can also find luxury makers in Italy who can work with you to produce products which will appeal to your customers and we can help you develop a long term relationship with these companies.


We can help place your company in a position which will allow it to benefit from the upturn in India’s luxury market.


I’ll be following events in India’s luxury market closely in 2014 and will provide updates on what is happening. You can also keep an eye on the luxury market in general by subscribing to my newsletter.

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My New Book: How to Make a Profit with Italian Luxury


Make a Profit with Italian LuxuryTo help others understand how to do business in Italy’s luxury market, I’ve written a book – a guide to how to do business successfully with Italian luxury brands.


In my book, Make a Profit with Italian Luxury, which is available in English, you’ll find lots of information on how Italy’s luxury market works and plenty of tips on how to ensure your business endeavours work out for both you and your Italian business partners.


Though my book I have shared what I have learned from working in Italy’s luxury market for many years. Having assisted numerous foreign businesses in their attempts at building profitable working relationships with Italian luxury brands, I also know where the problems lie. While an approach to a luxury brand in your own nation may work perfectly well, following the same rules when attempting to establish contact with an Italian luxury brand may not be as successful. I explain why in my book.


Highlights from my book include:


  • Identifying brands
  • Understanding what Italian luxury brands look for in potential business partners
  • How to contact Italian brands
  • How to build a productive relationship with Italian luxury brands
  • Negotiating tips and tricks


You can find my book online here and if you are considering doing business with Italy’s luxury makers, you will find it useful.


On the other hand, you may already have attempted to enter business relationships with luxury producers in Italy but, unfortunately, have not attained the level of success you were hoping for. If you find yourself in this situation, my book will help you understand where you might have gone wrong and may well help you ensure things go more smoothly in the future.


I sincerely hope you will find my book as interesting to read as it was to write. I would welcome your feedback too.

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Prada Replaces McDonald’s in Milan’s Elegant Galleria Vittorio Emanuele: My interview with The Guardian


The McDonald’s fast food restaurant in Milan’s historic Galleria Vittorio Emanuele shopping arcade finally closed its doors last Tuesday, October 16th to make way for a new Prada store.


After twenty years of activity, the busiest McDonald’s in Milan has given way to high fashion, but not without a little hullabaloo: McDonald’s “Democratic Lunch” initiative, which involved offering its classic menu with burgers, fries and drinks for free, attracted thousands of young people.


Prada Replaces McDonald's in Milan's Galleria Vittorio Emanuele



In the midst of the clamour surrounding the McDonald’s closure, I was interviewed by The Guardian. Here’s what I had to say on the matter: “For stores like Prada or Gucci, to have a McDonald’s across from them probably didn’t play well into the prestige of the gallery. It probably struck a wrong chord with the elegant, salon-of-Milan image.”


There is some speculation that McDonald’s is planning to sue the City of Milan for € 24 million (£ 19.5m) in damages and loss of revenues, others believe a deal was struck, and I, too, am of the opinion that “McDonald’s doesn’t go away for nothing.”


City officials said the space, for which McDonald’s was reputedly paying around € 200,000 a year, was put out to public bid in 2011. The new rent, fixed by competitive tender, is € 2,118,310 for an initial five year period.


Prada outbid Apple and Gucci to obtain the precious location. McDonald’s objected to the public bid process arguing that it discriminated against restaurants.


To read the full article on The Guardian click here.

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Milan Fashion Week Sets Trends


This week from the 21 to the 27 of September is Milan Fashion Week. There will be fashion shows everywhere and fashion buyers will be out in force sounding out what is going to be “in” next year.


Milan Fashion Week - September 2011


There are even rumors floating around that Milan’s Fashion Weeks are likely to displace the London fashion week as one of fashion’s most important appointments.


Everybody is interested in Italian style. In fact, it is during the Milan Fashion Week that trends are set. Fashion buyers the world over will be watching closely to see what is in, and what is out.


Questions abound:


Which colours are going to be fashionable for Spring and Summer 2012? What look is going to dominate?


More importantly for luxury boutiques, which Italian designers attract the most attention? And what are the 2012 trends likely to be?


As someone who makes a living from dealing with the wholesale fashion business, you will be looking for answers to the above questions and many more besides. Once you have the answers you need, you will start putting together a buying strategy.


You will also need to take into account which styles of clothes will look good on the people in your country? Are they all slim or is the population more robust? As you will know, generously built women tend to prefer clothing in darker colours because they make them look slimmer.


Successful boutiques select ranges of Italian made garments in a variety of different sizes that are likely to appeal to as many of their customers as possible. You will want to do the same.  Perhaps, if you are new to the business, you are unsure what your customers will like and what they will not.


If this is the situation you find yourself in, then why not contact someone who can help you?


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Download my new Free eBook on Italian Fashion Business

I am happy to share with you my new free eBook with many free suggestion on how to develop your business in Italian Fashion faster and better.
The idea is to share my experience with you hoping that you could avoid the mistake done by many Fashion business entrepreneurs and learn from my experience in consulting most successful businessmen.
This unique guide is good for you if you own or represent one or more of these:
  • Boutiques, Retail Chains, Shopping Centres,
  • Department stores, Distributors, Duty free shops,
  • eCommerce, Wholesalers, Outlets, Stock houses and warehouses
and you want to start or develop your business with Italian fashion products?
Then this ebook is the resource you have been looking for!
Download it now: it is a comprehensive guide to the correct steps that need to be taken when dealing with the best Italian Fashion Brands.


If you read this ebook you are already ahead of your competition.
Salvo Spagna


Important: as they say “well begun half done”. The opposite risk is to pay the higher prices and to encounter the worst nightmare of any Italian Fashion investor:!
In fact counterfeit goods and those without licenses can be seized by public authorities and are subject to heavy sanctions. Only few people around the world are able to assess the authenticity of Fashion Brands.


This paper is divided in three main sections:
The first part is designed to help you with:
  • defining the correct brand mix for your target.
  • choosing the proper size breakdown.
  • deciding the best end prices.
  • seizing the right time to buy


The second part is dedicated to Italy and how to deal with Italian Fashion Brands:

  • How are the Italian companies organized.
  • How to contact them making the right impression.
  • How to obtain a distribution license .
  • How to introduce yourself to Italian Brands.
  • How to deal with counterfeits.


Finally, the third part is contains the best tips when selecting your favorite agent or broker:

  • How to recognize the real Agents
  • How to find Agents, consultants of buying offices
  • How to defend yourself from Translators that are simply individuals improvised as Agents: leading you to higher prices or to being rejected by the Brands!


Click now on the image below to download it:

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Riguardo all’Autore

Salvo Spagna

The first Italian Luxury Advisor, offers consulting and intermediary services, plus authenticity and anti-counterfeiting audits for the purchase and sale of luxury and high quality Made in Italy goods, including Fashion, Food and Furniture

Contact Salvo Now
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