(Corrects to say Gucci has taken direct control of shops, not
will take control))
MILAN, April 14 Italian fashion and leather
brand Gucci, which is owned by French group Kering,
has taken direct control of its shops in Moscow and will open
two new sales outlets in the Russian capital, the company said
The label founded in Florence in 1921 has six shops in
Russia, including corners in luxury villages and malls. It will
now manage its three Moscow stores directly while its shops in
other towns will continue to be run by local partners.
Chief Executive Patrizio di Marco said the move was part of
a strategy, to "enhance the consistency of our customers'
experience across different markets through progressively taking
control of stores that have historically been operated by
franchisees and wholesalers". Gucci has also been putting this
into practice in the United States, the Gulf and India.
Di Marco said the influence of Russian luxury consumers was
growing, echoing Prada's chief executive, who recently
brushed aside questions about whether geopolitical troubles
there posed a risk for its business.
Gucci will open a new four-floor flagship store and a
location in the upmarket GUM department store in Moscow in the
second half the year, the company said.
Other Italian luxury brands including Prada and Moncler
have been converting wholesale accounts and franchises
into directly-operated shops, as they seek to secure higher
margins and greater control over their brands.
(Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Mark Heinrich, Greg