“We closed 2015 with revenues for €500 million, up 17% over the previous year, and we expect to close 2016 with an approximate 15-20% growth. We're focusing on pushing the brand overseas in particular, by capitalizing on the quality-price ratio and on innovation as well,” says Jan Heere, Managing Director of Kiko and of the Bergamo-based group's cosmetics division since December 2015.
The Kiko Milano brand, owned by Percassi and which was launched on the market in 1997, has established itself on a national and international level over the past two decades, thanks to a wide range of products – from makeup to skin care, to tools and accessories like makeup brushes – at accessible price points; and, above all, thanks to a network of mono-brand stores covering all of Italy, from historic centers to shopping malls, and now expanding overseas.
“By year's end, we'll have opened 200 new stores in twelve months, making a total of nearly a thousand stores,” said Heere.
The latest inauguration, chronologically, in early June, was the Kiko store at the Oriocenter shopping mall, just outside Bergamo: an important addition since it is the first store (and only one, for now) whose concept was designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma: “An innovative store in many ways: from design to sustainability, to the iPads customers are supplied with so they can access any information they may need on our products.”
Digitalization is one of the key themes in the brand's development plans: “E-commerce is going to grow even more significantly over the next three years, and we wish to implement a multi-channel sales strategy. Our e-commerce today is active in 21 countries, US included; and we wish to render it increasingly competitive.”
The Internet is an important tool for the brand in two respects: internationalization and Millennials.
The international markets, which absorb a little over 50% of Kiko's turnover, are well within reach of the company: “Our core market at the moment is Europe, but we are meeting with increasing interest in the US, where we have 26 stores right now, in China and Hong Kong, as well as in the Middle East.” Among the 200 openings on the agenda for 2016, there are stores in São Paulo and New Delhi, gateways to two promising markets, as well as new openings in Turkey and Russia.
Yet another complex issue is the expansion of retail distribution in Italy – with such big players as L'Oréal's NYX ready to open mono-brand stores.
“Direct or indirect competition is stimulating,” Heere confides. “Ours is extremely varied: we range from 15-year-olds who wish to experiment with new makeup products to women over 40, looking for valid and accessible cosmetics. We're glad this is so. Today, we are looking to Generation Z: it's important to learn their language, for they are the clientele of the future.”
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