A LUXURIOUS STROLL
Fourth in the world by revenue, via Monte Napoleone confirms its status as “Queen of Italian Roads”. Spoken by the President Guglielmo Miani.
A New Year full of positive, encouraging news regarding the luxury market in general and jewellery in particular. 2015, according to the Osservatorio Altagamma, registered a slight increase in consumption in the high-end world, 2.1% at constant exchange rates with a total market of EUR 253 billion, whereby the highest growth was recorded in jewellery with +18% at current rates. A positive trend, therefore, for Italy as well, where the tax free shopping market recorded a 19% rise in the first 9 months of the year thanks to the strong presence of Chinese purchasers (+71%), consolidating their position as top spenders in Italy, followed by Russians, despite the sharp drop in spending (-42%), the Americans, Arabs and the Koreans. However, in a desire to more closely ‘map’ and ‘photograph’ the situation of Milan and of the best of the luxury streets, the now iconic Monte Napoleone, we asked the President of the Association, Guglielmo Maina, to tell us as an insider what ‘one luxury destination par excellence’ means and how the watches and jewels segment is positioned.
How much does the watches and jewels segment account for of the total business of the quadrangle?
“First of all we could say that the strength of Via Monte Napoleone and of all the Quadrangle, which we represent as an association, is its optimum combination of fine jewellery, watches, fashion, food, design, bags and accessories. I am very pleased with the evolution of this mix over the last 20 years, one which has seen an exponential growth in the presence of luxury brands through a formula of high quality that brings together big names such as Van Cleef & Arpels, to give you an example, and names which are really niche brands such as Vhernier, who have recently moved their boutique to Monte Napoleone. To give you an idea, the jewellery world today represents about 28% of the total business conducted in the Quadrilateral, a number that can and will grow, just as the fashion numbers will grow. A determining factor will be the type of customer which visits Milan”.
How do you suggest traditional jewellers might ‘keep up’ with the big brands?
“Bearing in mind that foreigners contribute 85% of sales, in order to give greater visibility to the brand, internationalization comes first”.
Why is Via Montenapoleone liked so much? It is indeed considered a brand?
“Monte Napoleone is a brand. 45% of tourists arriving in Milan go to Via Monte Napoleone and, according to a survey by Mannheimer, brands in the street offer a guarantee of quality. It is definitely very convenient and an ideal place for a shopping experience, if you remember that within a kilometre the best brands in the world, the top hotels and restaurants can be found. And let’s not forget that today cuisine is one of the main drivers in experiencing the Italian lifestyle”.
Could you explain the evolution of the ‘One Luxury Destination’ project and the VIP Lounge services that the ASSOCIATION offers?
“Born during Expo, it is the first lounge in the world for 5 star customer service. Privileged services to get to know the luxury brands in absolute discretion, following a unique model that not even cities like Hong Kong or Dubai are able to offer. When I became President, the activities were very basic. Working in synergy with the government, we obtained an exemption from the cash limit of 15 thousand euro for foreigners. Milan is a city that needs to be known and lived in a different way from Rome, Florence or Venice, it is a ‘best kept secret’. Our competitors are not in Italy, it is abroad. They are cities like London and Paris. We talk about organising and we do it. The association had 18 members in 2010, today we are at 132, 10 5 star deluxe hotels and 20 restaurants. Our goal is to fill the 1,500 hotel rooms and make tourists return to Milan. Expo reached their numbers and targets in improving the superstructure, but for us it was a business driver”.
A preview on the next developments in the Quadrilateral?
“In May 2016 we will repeat ‘Unique’ for jewellers, an event in which all the jewellery and watches brands will exhibit unique pieces. Through diverse and complex experiences, we want to involve our customers in increasingly wide initiatives that go beyond a single brand. We want to create cross-product dialogues, between jewellery and fashion for example, which are able to arouse emotions and continually surprise our customers”.