United Colors of Benetton has just disclosed its new “On Canvas” flagship store in Milan’s central Piazza Duomo. The debuting concept has already been applied to some other recently opened stores such as the ones in Florence, Nice (France), another one to open in Verona in a few days and a further opening planned in Moscow.

The new 1.500 sqm store in Milan is characterized by a new and flexible structure aimed at hosting its completely redesigned collection. The new structure is designed to work as a lightweight, simple though solid and almost invisible structure in which new collections, different color and product families can be presented or launched according to trends and market needs at best. For this reason, the new concept has been named “On Canvas”.

As explained by Valentina Soster, creative director of the brand, the new collection made up of about 560 items, of which 380 are aimed at women, wants to be a “masstige” one, which is designed in Italy with top quality Italian materials, though offered at affordable prices. It includes a complete total look of easy to match urban, sophisticated and smart apparel as well as young casual, jeanswear, sportswear, accessories and a newborn selection by bijoux. It is sold at very democratic prices: cotton silk knits are sold at €29.95 and a lace-like dress is offered at €39. Knitwear remains a key element in the offer as it has always been a founding element in the company's history and know-how.

Another element characterizing the new store are some interactive screens - “interactive shelves” - placed in each different area of the store through which some details of the collection can be disclosed. Additionally, sales managers can also order products that are no longer in store by interacting with these screens and the company’s warehouses. Products can be ordered, paid and delivered either at home or in store. Also consumers can easily interact and by scanning each item's QR code, they can buy or look for information via their smartphone.

Denim space in the On Canvas store
Denim space in the On Canvas store


Benetton Group is presently managing over 6.000 stores, of which 600 are managed directly. The group closed 2013 registering €1.6 billion sales, about 10% less than the revenues reached in 2012. Some positive signs are already showing from the beginning of 2014, since the company has registered a +17.7% increase compared to similar selling areas and totaled an increase in margins of similar entity thanks to an increase in store traffic (+10%) and conversion rate (+7%).

“Already from 2012 and 2013 we have been facing phases of rethinking our business strategies through discontinuity and renovation. Though this difficult period has set the basis for a structured and renovated growth,” commented Biagio Chiarolanza, CEO, Benetton Group. “The year 2014 will represent a implementing year, while in 2015 we expect to see the first truly positive recovery signs,” he continues while explaining how the group wants to abandon their less strategic markets concentrating on 60 markets out of the previous 120 ones and focus mostly on Italy (40% of its sales), Europe and key markets such as India, Korea and Mexico. “Our focus is a new business model focused on consumer's request, a constant checking of sales results in real time, and faster reactions to market signs such as faster rhythms in managing our productive cycles and constant injections of new products in stores. Already from f/w 2013/2014 we saw the first positive results and cut half our indebtedness to less than €300 million. We expect to invest for the next three years a total of €300 million. And despite directly managed stores are part of our business model, we will continue working through a significant amount of commercial partners. And will work with their stores in the same way we are working with the ones we manage directly.”

The company had already announced that they will concentrate activities on their two major brands – United Colors of Benetton and Sisley – and they had further announced that they will gradually dismiss minor brands such as Killer Loop and Playlife, also stating that they will continue offering Jeans West. More defined projects will be announced about the group's historical jeans brand by end 2014.

Typically Benetton: United colors
Typically Benetton: United colors