Historic Italian sportswear and activewear brand Sergio Tacchini is experiencing constant growth since 2014 and it has increasingly found success thanks to a new business model and also to young consumers, and teenage women.
We discussed uptick by talking to Patrizia Bolzoni, general manager of Sergio Tacchini-Wintex Italia Srl.
We haven’t heard much about Sergio Tacchini for a while. How is it performing?
This brand, founded in 1966 by Italian tennis player Sergio Tacchini, was very renowned in past decades. From tennis fields to streets it was successful among different cultures and generations. It had become a synonym of Italian style and elegance and counted, among its many ambassadors, tennis champion John McEnroe. After years of difficulties, in 2007 it was acquired by Chinese group Hembly International owned by Billy Ngok, though in order to face further difficulties, in 2014 Wintex Italy, part of the privately owned Wintex Hong Kong group, rented the ST company branch from the Ngok family as a master license and invented a new business model. Now it is sold through 13 different distributors all over the world each of whom, according to a licensing agreement, can buy the collection (which is the same one all over the world) directly from the producer at production prices.
Could you describe the collection?
The collection is varied, complete and characterized by very high quality. We at Wintex Italy are focused on R&D and design and manage production in countries like China, Bangladesh, India and Turkey. Thanks to our business model we can guarantee that all of the brand’s licensees can get the same quality and products. At Wintex Italy we take care of product and collection design and marketing, while the licensees take care of production and distribution.
Under the ST umbrella there are three main collections: the Blue, Red and Green labels. The Blue one offers sportswear and pure sport apparel and is distributed through sports chains. The Red one is aimed at professional teams and sold via pro-shops, both on- and offline. The Green line–which has a very high positioning–is tied to our history as it reinterprets our iconic pieces from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.
Is it also aimed at fashion-minded consumers and streetwear fans?
We are very thankful to designers like Gosha Rubchinski, who featured some Sergio Tacchini pieces in his fashion show in 2016, and Band Of Outsiders who started a collaboration with us for s/s 2019. Those two occasions, among others, gave us the opportunity to be sold in high-end fashion stores and gave us visibility and made us being approached by young consumers too.
We have also started offering a special selection of pieces aimed at very young women ages 14-20 sold at adequate prices for that age. As part of the project we have also started capsules in collaboration with the Eleven Paris store in Paris and Urban Outfitters. These particular collections are very casual and often sold through sports stores. For s/s 2020 we also want to start important operations in terms of volume in France with sport-store chains like, for instance, Intersport.
How is ST distributed?
Our privileged channels are sports stores like, for instance, Intersport, JD Sport, Tennis Point and Footlocker. Though we sell our Archivio collection and other various capsule collections and collaborations with designers we sell through the best worldwide boutiques including Luisaviaroma and Antonia in Italy, Le Bon Marché and Citadium in France, and Beams in Japan.
We sells through 1,500 stores worldwide though want this number to grow.
What are your most important markets?
Europe counts for 63% of our sales, followed by Japan accounting for 26%. We also want to expand in new markets. Starting from s/s 2019 we have changed our licensee in the US and expect to grow there. Starting from s/s 2020 we will work with Russia and Arabian Emirates and by 2021 we want to step into China and Korea.
Will you open monobrand stores?
We don’t believe in monobrand stores. We prefer to work with quality multibrand stores. Selling through monobrands often equals to selling through franchising stores we consider more like focused on commodity products, though they don’t convey strong emotions.
We also sell through pro shops inside international tennis clubs, or through sports and streetwear stores.
What is ST’s turnover?
We expect to close 2019 reaching €55 million in revenues and over €60 million by end 2020–all positive results considering that when Wintex took over the brand five years ago, ST registered €35 million in sales. Our aim is to reach €100 million in sales by 2024.
Are there any new projects you will focus on?
By October 2019, within Silmo, in Paris, we will launch our eyewear collection worldwide and want to increase our footwear sales in Europe, Japan and the US.