The two Italian intimates brands, which are owned by the Calzedonia Group, have opened four new retail locations on the West Coast: two sets of side-by-side Intimissimi and Calzedonia stores, one located in Torrance, Calif., which opened earlier this month, and another opening Friday in nearby Cerritos, Calif.
“Year by year, we are expanding,” Marcello Veronesi, chief executive officer of Calzedonia USA, told WWD. “It’s a natural growth for us in the U.S.”
The company, which is based out of Verona, Italy, took up residence Stateside in June 2017 with its Manhattan flagship. With the additional California stores, there are 50 retail locations in the U.S. between the two brands. Veronesi said the company’s pre-COVID-19 plans were to continue expanding in the U.S., opening roughly 25 stores this year, many of them in new markets.
The pace slowed amid the pandemic and subsequent need for social distancing. But Veronesi said physical stores will always be a focal point for the Italian fashion house.
“We are in retail; this is what we do,” Veronesi said. “Our company is one in which brick-and-mortar is the foundation; it’s really the DNA of all our brands. Of course we are growing a lot in e-commerce as well, especially this year. But in our physical stores, our customers have an experience. They can touch the quality of the garments, the quality of the products and the customers can feel the atmosphere. And then they can buy either in store or online.
“That omnichannel experience is crucial,” he continued. “In fact, we are still investing a lot in both ways. In this day and age, there needs to be a marriage between retail and e-commerce to give the customer the most well-rounded experience.”
Just when shopping trips IRL will return to pre-pandemic levels is unclear. The U.S. is logging more than 60,000 new coronavirus cases a day and many parts of Europe have begun a second wave of lockdowns. Even so, Veronesi said the company will continue to grow its U.S. store fleet, focusing on quality locations rather than quantity. That includes an Intimissimi and Calzedonia Los Angeles flagship, tentatively scheduled to open early next year.
“The U.S. is one of our biggest markets these days and we are still very, very little [in market share] relatively,” Veronesi said. “So we think we still have a huge space to improve our footprint in the U.S. market.”
The Calzedonia Group, which also includes the Tezenis, Falconeri, Atelier Eme and Signorvino brands, has more than 4,800 stores in 54 countries.
The side-by-side California locations — a 1,200-square-foot store in Torrance and a 1,800-square-foot store in Cerritos — sell many of the same products found at other stores around the world, including lingerie, bras, sleepwear and swimwear.
“Usually we build the same store everywhere,” Veronesi said. “Our stores are created with a design concept that is born at our headquarters and meant to translate and be familiar in all our markets. It is extremely important for us that the customer understands she or he is in a Calzedonia or Intimissimi store from the moment they step inside; that they feel that sense of familiarity and intimacy, whether they are shopping in Paris, Shanghai or L.A.”