What new plans is Replay focusing on after the advent of Belle as new partner?
Our agreement is based upon a synergy of competences and common aims. As Belle International is used to manage about 20,000 stores, their experience and competence will surely help us entering and growing in Greater China. On the one hand, we are experts in wholesale business, while they are experts on the retail side. They are used to work with brands such as Nike and Adidas through their network. We are, instead, a premium brand and we want to map all the main cities of the country. We want to open 150 monobrand stores till 2022, after one-two years of assessment based upon tests in terms of quality of the products and growth strategy.
Are you planning to expand to any other countries?
We want to grow in Latin America as we have already started selling in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Colombia. By March 2017, we will open our first flagship store in Sao Paolo, in Rua Oscar Freyre. We are already renowned in Brazil as in 2015 we signed our three-year contract with F.C. Barcelona’s star player and Captain of the Brazil national football team, Neymar Jr., a as Replay ambassador. Therefore, we can count on some great ambassadors from the country we will start our global growth from. We don’t want to follow any aggressive strategy, but start through the retail channel. In Colombia, instead, we have already started expanding through wholesale distribution.
Are you also planning to grow in the US?
Within the first quarter of this year we will start a distribution partnership there in order to also expand through wholesale activation. Concentrating on retail would require too much energy and might not balance well enough the results we might achieve in a market such as the US.
How about Italy and the European market?
If before we were a semi-global company, from now on we can consider ourselves as a worldwide one. Today Europe represents 80% of our sales with Italy in constant growth - despite its small size we closed 2016 registering a double digit growth. Germany, instead, counts for 20% of our sales.
How about revenues of 2016?
We registered €220 million sales in 2016, a stable result when compared with 2015, with the only difference that we changed our EBITDA from negative into positive. Surely a positive result.
Replay is also renowned for its monobrand stores. Are you planning more openings, in addition to the one in Sao Paolo?
The Sao Paolo opening represents a significant innovation step as it will be smaller in size when compared to our avarage past ones. We want to avoid discrepancies between costs and performance. For this we want to grow our expertise more in this sector and open our stores according to two main aspects: dimensions and location. Some commercial streets are too expensive when compared to the performance they bring. Plus when opening smaller stores one has to rationalize its product offer. This is what will support our retail philosophy from now on.
Our aim is now to work in Europe with 50 monobrand stores and 2,900 multibrand stores worldwide.
And what about the digital channel?
E-commerce is growing significantly and constantly as it now counts for 3% of our sales.
Working with so many different markets, do you also offer specific products in terms of image and fits? What new trends will grow in the future?
We are not working on specific projects based upon innovation such as, for instance, our recent Touch product (also see here). Though when approaching specific markets as the Chinese one we are developing specific fits, but no special collections. Referring to trends, the real trend is anti-fit. For women most important will become the “boy fit”, that is the opposite of what is still ruling now - skinny jeans.
Are there any new products you will launch in the future?
Two years ago we launched Hyperflex, a jeans that is 120% stretch and has a great performance. It has boosted our sales and also set a trend in the market. Our next step will be creating a combination between innovation and quality with wellness and comfort as only when one feels well one can also feel cool.
What other segments could gain importance in the future?
Accessories represent an important part of our business and are constantly growing. We aim at further expanding in the travel retail segment and will do it – more than through apparel - through our bags, accessories and footwear lines, all collections that we are producing internally.