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Retail campaign launched by British govt to encourage its retailers to expand into Italian market

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2015-01-28 11:00:00 – UK

British government to take advantage of growing opportunities in Italy as its capital Milan has the second highest per capita purchasing power at €22,800 (£17,000) among European cities, second only to Paris, has launched a retail campaign to encourage British retailers to expand into Italian market.

As part of its Retail Challenge campaign, government body UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) has produced a report on retail and franchising opportunities in Italy and will take up to eight UK businesses considered to have a viable proposition to Milan for two days, from March 12-13. It is now seeking suitable, interested retailers to join the first mission.

Accompanied by trade advisors, the retailers will meet potential retail and franchise partners and visit key shopping destinations. Another mission may follow later in the year if this one is a success and UKTI will promote the campaign at the World Retail Congress in Milan in September.

According to Alessandra Macagnino, fashion trade advisor for UKTI’s consumer and creative team in Milan, Italian retail scenario has changed a lot recently. Many international retailers have now opened multiples, chains, concessions, shop-in-shops and franchised shops.

British retailers have been slow in tackling this strategic market, which attracts business visitors and tourists not only from Europe, but increasingly from Asia, the Arab countries, the US and Japan. The main challenge for UK retailers is finding the right partners..

However, Richard Craig, managing director of Margaret Howell, which opened a shop and production office in Florence in November 2014, said that the rents really aren’t that big if they are slightly off the core streets such as Via Tornabuoni, which is quite affordable.

Jigsaw said that it would consider going into department stores in Italy, particularly following its recent pop-up at El Corte Inglés in Spain, which was part of another initiative organised by UKTI last October.

The UK retailer feel that they should be in Italian market, but there are two challenges before them, firstly the landlords want a lot of money from overseas retailers and second, there are a lot of small local shops and not so many bigger retailers, so there’s not enough scale are the reasons for their slow move.

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