Following the MAPIC Fair that took place last week, the brand's representatives returned with several projects proposed by commercial centres that will be opened or modernised in cities across the country over the next years. “We are now conducting an evaluation of the market and later we will decide which of them we will pick out,” says Cosma.
Romania is a crucial point of the Stefanel business in the region. “We have been on the market since 1991 and we already have a good knowledge of the market. There are few who know that operations in all the Stefanel stores in the Eastern Europe region are coordinated from Romania,” says Cosma. Consequently, Stefanel is not “put off” either by the proximity with other brands in large commercial centres or by high rents in the central area of the cities where it plans on establishing or strengthening its presence. According to Cosma, the luxury market in Romania is still “low” but the next years will definitely bring major transformations. “As more commercial centres are opened, I am convinced that more and more luxury brands will be tempted to approach the Romanian market.”
Stefanel stepped in on the local market in 1991 with the intention of opening stores in the most populated cities in the country. At the moment, there are 12 Stefanel stores in Romania. In the capital, Stefanel stores were opened in large commercial centres such as Plaza Romania, Mall Vitan and Mario Plaza.
There is also a store on Calea Victoriei and two within the JW Marriott and Sofitel hotels. In the rest of the country, Stefanel generally targeted large cities where it displayed its creations in stores located either in shopping centres or on the main arteries.
The collections are replaced regularly as every season new ones are brought from Italy. “Customers in Romania can find the same products in Romania as in the Stefanel stores in Italy,” says Cosma. The 2007 fall/winter collection was launched this month at Casino Place, with the movie “Victor Victoria,” in which actress Julie Andrews was wearing men's clothes, as the collection's inspiration.
Strategies for strengthening local presence and increasing customer loyalty include the launch of a loyalty program that appeared in Romania at the end of last year. Called Join Club, it aims to up customer loyalty by granting them value checks that are sent every month to returning customers and promotions that are customized depending on the customer's loyalty degree.
The first Stefanel store was opened in 1980 in Siena by Giuseppe Stefanel. Two years later, a new store was opened in Paris. The brand entered the new year with a strategy to reposition itself so that it could target the medium-to-high segment.