Coronavirus complicates the plans, that’s for sure. But Patrizio Bertelli didn’t give up on this because of that. The Prada group will invest 100 million a year in acquisitions of Italian factories. Yes, not in brands, but in manufacturing companies. Because, despite the pandemic, the luxury market will start to grow again. The Tuscan holding wants to be ready, that is, with a vertical and quality infrastructure.
Speaking to Il Sole 24 Ore, Bertelli explains how the organisation of work has already been the area of intervention to absorb the fallout from the pandemic. “We focused on costs, trying not to burden the employees – these are his words -. For example, we have reduced the cost of collections by 50% by decreasing prototypes and doing many more digital simulations. Even the suppliers have done the same thing: not to use the leverage of layoffs, but of work organisation”. It is from this awareness that the industrial plan derives. “We will invest 100 million a year – Bertelli announces -. Made in Italy production will be increasingly important. For years I have said that what mattered was made in Prada. But today Made in Italy is no longer just a marketing topic, it is about defending the territory, artisan know-how. 80% of our production is made in Italy”.
Acquisitions of Italian factories
In the future of the group, which already manages 22 production sites, there is still work and manufacturing. “The French have closed their factories in France and, since they did not have them in Italy, they are building them now – he says, referring to the recent investments of French holding companies -. Prada, on the other hand, was born with factories, for us producing is like eating pasta”. Precisely for this reason Bertelli can affirm that the group will continue “to acquire factories”, not brands “that do not interest me”. “For me this is a social commitment – he says – as well as an industrial one. I see it as a way to safeguard the territory: we cannot waste energy and know-how, and we must think about the next twenty years, when the luxury market will expand”.
At the moment, with the pandemic underway, the situation is critical. “The problem is above all Europe: at the moment we have 114 closed stores: it is clear that there is a lack of revenues”. For Bertelli, the watershed of 2021 will be March: “At that point, the heavy lockdowns underway in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, England, and also in Sweden, will end – he argues -. The season will change and there may be positive signs. March will be a fundamental month”. The virus has forced the market to halt, but the prospects are rosy: “In twenty years, the luxury market will be even bigger than today – concludes the manager -. We will reach five billion within four to five years”.
In the photo: Patrizio Bertelli (in the box, Imagoeconomica) and the processing phase of a Prada bag (from the video T Process | The Making of Prada’s Most Iconic Bag)
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