Daniel A. Rosner, director of the luxury division at the investment fund Global Eye Investments, tells Business Review about the entry of iconic British brand Burberry, famed for its classic check, onto the local market and explains the main differences between the Romanian luxury scene and other similar markets worldwide.
How would you describe the Romanian luxury market at present compared with other high-end markets in Central and Eastern Europe?
The current Romanian luxury market is comparable with those in CEE even though Romania is below the average in the region for the number of brands present in other countries and the consolidated value of the market.
What can you tell us about the first Burberry store in Romania? How well do you think it will be received by Romanians?
Burberry is an iconic British brand that has a history of over 156 years and that is attractive at international level because of its innovative spirit.
Our 500-sqm store within Radisson Blu Complex was opened on March 19 this year and officially launched at the beginning of May.
It reflects exactly the Burberry store design concept developed by the chief creative officer, Christopher Bailey, using British materials and themes throughout.
LED flat video walls showcase the Burberry digital content controlled by the brand’s headquarters in London. The collections available in Bucharest are Burberry Prorsum, London, Brit, Childrenswear and Accessories along with the following clothes categories: women’s wear, menswear, children’s wear, non apparel, eyewear, fragrances and watches.
Is the entry of Burberry a sign of the local luxury market’s maturity? What were the firm’s main reasons for coming to Romania now?
After a year of negotiations with Global Eye Investments, Romania was also included in Burberry’s plan for expansion. It is a corporation with businesses worth EUR 10 billion that built its brand in panes and colors of red, black, cream and white.
The opening of the Burberry store in Bucharest is the result of a EUR 1.5 million investment without the inventory. It is a natural consequence of a maturing market and is in line with the global development strategy of the brand.
How would you define the local luxury consumer and how different is he or she from the equivalent in Western countries?
The Western luxury consumer is much more sophisticated because he or she has been exposed to luxury for much longer. Thus, he or she knows how to articulate preferences and expectations better than the Romanian consumer.
What are your plans for the local market as regards launching new stores or projects?
Global Eye will also develop another two projects – a Techno Gym showroom (the company is the distributor of the premium fitness equipment producer in the country) and a multibrand store selling luxury accessories and shoes.
Fashion retail is not quite an unknown issue for Global Eye Investments. It has also had a Sport Couture store (of 1,000 sqm) in its portfolio since May 2011, a multibrand with both “diffusion” collections (second line) of the large luxury brands and premium lines from Nike, Adidas and Puma.
This required an investment of EUR 750,000 and has the potential to reach annual sales of EUR 2-2.5 million.
The company also operates the franchise of two Adidas monobrand stores in Romania.
How big do you think the impact of opening the Burberry store will be on the local market?
Competition always has a positive effect as it leads to both the settlement and sophistication of a specific market.
What are the latest trends in the luxury industry at international level and why are they slow to appear on the local market?
Luxury has many valences in plenty of fields. While Romania is somewhere in line with the international trends in fashion, the level of sophistication of services here is decades behind.
Burberry at a glance
Headquartered in London and a member of the FTSE 100.
1856 – Thomas Burberry founds the company at the age of 21 with the
aim of producing innovative functional outwear
1909 – The opening of the store in Paris
2008 – The opening of the new global headquarters in London
2009 – The opening of the American headquarters