Brunello Cucinelli doubles the size of Madison Avenue flagship – WWD
Brunello Cucinelli believes in New York, and the company has made a major statement on its confidence in the city’s resilience by doubling the size of its flagship Madison Avenue.
The store, which opened more than a decade ago, has expanded to almost an entire block at 683-689 Madison Avenue (at 61st Street), allowing the company to better showcase the entire its brand offering.
âIt’s 8,127 square feet – a true flagship store,â said Massimo Caronna, president and CEO of Brunello Cucinelli North America, who said the company was able to secure the space next door that once housed Bally. in order to expand.
The renovation began in February 2021 at the height of the pandemic and the store remained open during the process. There are eight storefronts on Madison Avenue, separate boutiques for men’s, women’s, kids’ and lifestyle collections, as well as a VIP dressing room and bar area.
âWe opened on Madison in 2010 and the location has proven to be a great choice for brand aesthetics and customer base,â said Caronna. âIt has become our flagship product and our largest store in the world. “
In total, the company has 113 stores around the world and 33 in North America. And while the brand started out as wholesale only, retail now accounts for 53% of its overall sales, he said. âI always dreamed of having a separation between wholesale and retail,â he said.
As reported, the company achieved a turnover of 502.6 million euros for the first nine months of the year, up 9.4% compared to the same period in 2019 and 32.7 % from 2020. Sales in the Americas increased 37.4% to 161.2 million euros from 2020 and increased 7.9% from 2019.
âAs we expanded into lifestyle, children’s clothing and accessories, we felt it was important to find a bigger footprint to present all of our offerings,â he said of the Madison Avenue store. The larger space allows the brand to serve both new and existing customers in specific dedicated areas and also offers a “sense of privacy for shopping in comfort”, in part thanks to the two separate entrances, one for men and one for women. âPrivacy today is a luxury,â he said.
The store also allows the brand to expand its sportswear offer as well as tailor-made clothing for men and to better highlight seasonal offers. âEach season we aim to bring something new to our collections,â he said.
The store offers the new eyewear collection with Oliver Peoples, the first time Brunello Cucinelli has partnered with another brand, Caronna said. Carolina Cucinelli, co-president, co-creative director and daughter of the founder, worked closely with the eyewear company to create the collection, and “we are happy with the results,” he said.
Caronna said the store will offer bespoke appointments and trunk displays and host charitable events and collaborations. It will also be possible to organize private lunches, and guests will be encouraged to head to the bar for an espresso or wine. âWe want them to feel like they’re coming to us, more than just a Brunello Cucinelli store,â he said.
The store’s design features natural tones of oak imported from Italy with metallic and hardware surfaces. A mix of antiques, such as a 19th-century haberdashery piece from the Veneto region and a two-level desk from a tailor shop in Bologna, are juxtaposed with more modern elements.
And the boutique is segmented into areas meant to remind of an Italian home, including a library, living room, and office.
âThe physical store will always play an important role for the brand,â said Caronna. âIt has always made a difference for us to be able to connect with customers and being in person allows us to build the relationship. He said it was also helpful for the staff to guide clients through the collection and style them in the most appropriate way.
Caronna said that while the lockdowns and store closings at the start of the pandemic were “very difficult,” the company believed that ultimately things would bounce back.
“We have taken a stand in New York and believe there is tremendous energy here.” He said the brand continues to stay in touch with its customers, offering Zoom calls with the founder and other digital events to “keep them connected.”
“We came out of it more resilient and more connected,” he continued. âBrick and mortar are even more important now. And as the company’s e-commerce arm has grown during the pandemic, he believes a physical and digital presence is key to success. âThey complement each other,â he says. The brand also expanded its stores in San Francisco, Chicago and Las Vegas during the pandemic.
Looking ahead, Caronna said the company just signed a lease to open a store in Palo Alto, Calif., Next year with Scottsdale, Arizona. A new store in Chicago, which opened at the end of last month, has performed well, and while there are no plans for a large retail rollout in the United States, he said that where demand is high and there is an opportunity to get retail space with the square footage needed to showcase the entire collection, the brand will consider adding a store.
There are also opportunities to work with wholesale customers to create âmini zones within storesâ for specific product categories such as the Neverending Stories sustainable cashmere collection, he said, a move that also allows the brand to “attract a younger customer as we move.” cheeky.”
In addition to the Madison Avenue store, the brand is also launching its Casa Cucinelli concept in New York this fall. The private customer experience will provide customers with the ability to shop the collection and customize their wardrobe in an intimate setting outside of the retail store. The New York site joins others in Milan, London and Paris with Tokyo and Shanghai planned for the future.