MILAN — The Coccinelle store that just opened at the Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino airport in Rome marks the debut of a new interior concept for the Italian accessories brand.
Chief operating officer Emanuele Mazziotta described the design as “an evolution, rather than a disruption” of the existing interior, as the label is looking to refresh its image across all its touch points in continuity with the past while not alienating its loyal customer base. “Our main goal is to keep coherence in terms of image and overall consistency globally,” noted Mazziotta.
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To this end the signature design elements that define the brand’s retail presence — such as the distinctive pink hue and brass finishing — were preserved, only enhanced by a more minimal approach hinged on sinuous shapes and furniture with rounded edges.
The format will be replicated in the upcoming store openings and revamp of existing ones, as the company is strengthening its retail footprint globally. The move is part of a wider strategy that sees Coccinelle scale up its business by expanding into new product categories.
The international ambitions of the brand kick-started in 2012 when the Korean E-Land fund acquired the company from the Mazzieri family, which founded Coccinelle in 1978 in Sala Baganza, near Parma.
While Mazziotta didn’t share figures he said that last year Coccinelle exceeded pre-pandemic levels in terms of turnover. In 2019, sales were close to 100 million euros, as reported.
In the first half of 2023, the brand’s sales grew 18 percent compared to the same period last year. Sales generated from Coccinelle’s retail channel — comprising full-price and outlet stores — increased 20 percent, while wholesale sales were up 25 percent.
Direct online sales accounted for 8 percent of the total, but reached 20 percent including sales through third-party e-commerce platforms.
“The company kept growing also in [the third quarter] and is growing in [the fourth quarter] but at a slower pace compared to the first half of this year, which is in sync with what’s happening in the market and the macroeconomic situation overall,” said Mazziotta. Still, the executive is confident Coccinelle will report growth in 2023, too, projecting full-year sales to increase between 10 percent and 15 percent versus 2022.
The store count is set to increase, as well. Coccinelle currently has 120 monobrand stores and 1,300 point of sales in department stores, multibrand stores and travel retail locations in 44 countries.
Italy currently accounts for 44 percent of total sales, but Mazziotta touted Coccinelle’s strong brand awareness across all Europe, specifically in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Eastern Europe, with the brand recently opening a store in Vilnius, Lithuania.
The company has entered the Spanish market, where it looks to further grow in the near future, is resonating positively in Scandinavia and is exploring Portugal as a new potential market, said Mazziotta.
Popularity in Asia, which currently accounts for 10 percent of total sales, is also on the rise, boosted by Coccinelle’s openings in mainland China this year. In January two new monobrand stores opened in Nanjing and at Shanghai Village, followed by another unit in the Minhang district in Shanghai in June.
Coccinelle’s brand awareness is solid in Thailand, where it will soon revamp its store at the Central World shopping plaza in Bangkok with the new interior concept. Additionally, the firm is eyeing entering the Japanese market via a string of pop-ups and shops-in-shop at premium department stores by the end of next year.
Before that, the brand will target Middle Eastern consumers as Mazziotta revealed plans for the opening of the label’s first two stores in Dubai in the first half of 2024, which will kick-start a wider expansion in the area. The new year will also see Coccinelle’s online store being revamped in the layout, navigation system and user-friendly tools to better serve its international customers.
Travel retail is additionally considered extremely strategic for the company, which this year already opened locations at the airports in Bologna, Düsseldorf, Vienna and Dalaman in Turkey, before unveiling the new unit in Rome.
“These stores mean business but also international visibility,” said Mazziotta, hinting that the rollout at airports and cruise ships will continue next year.
For the executive, the channel hits particularly close to home as he first joined Coccinelle as head of travel retail in 2014, before being appointed to his current role in 2020. Under Mazziotta’s watch, the brand increasingly pivoted toward a customer-centric approach, which marked a key change in terms of corporate structure and influences strategies across collections’ design, distribution and communication.
“This company has always been known for offering a high quality product at a great price. We’re an affordable luxury brand and this value-for-money aspect is essential for the firm,” said Mazziotta. He added that product remains at the core but over the years a merchandising team has been added to synergistically work with the in-house designers to further improve the collections and “reposition the brand with a more contemporary image.”
“And given this approach and proximity to our end consumers, we have been also encouraged by them to explore new product categories to complete our handbag offering with,” added Mazziotta.
While leather bags remain Coccinelle’s core, accounting for 80 percent of its total sales and followed by small leather goods, accounting for 18 percent, over the past year the brand stepped into the footwear arena with a initial fall 2023 collection. The focused range mirrored the Coccinelle codes in terms of materials and colors as well as details, including the plectrum-shaped embellishment often used as a buckle and that recurs on its bags.
The debut shoe collection — which comprised monogram leather sneakers, ankle boots, loafers and mary jane styles — hit stores in September and “these first few months have proved to be extremely positive and reassuring in terms of sales,” said Mazziotta.
A full-fledged footwear collection was unveiled for spring 2024. Expected to hit the stores in January, the collection addressed more occasions, with a stronger focus on the active world and summer essentials such as sandals and wedges.
Mazziotta added that other gaps in the assortment were filled with the “Smart to Go” line of genderless accessories and travel-oriented products, encompassing backpacks, tote bags, crossbody styles and wallets, as well as a fashion jewelry collection of bijoux in eco-friendly and hypoallergenic brass and water-based enamels.
“These are the main additions we focused on over the past year, but we don’t exclude there might be a further expansion, like into watches,” said Mazziotta. While so far Coccinelle has developed all products in-house or relied on its manufacturing partners, the executive said that the new category might be likely developed through a licensing agreement.
Distribution-wise, all products are available at Coccinelle’s own stores but for footwear the brand has started to forge ties with wholesalers and multibrand stores specializinig in the sector, in addition to its existing partners. “This marked our debut in new distribution channels we weren’t present in before,” said Mazziotta.
Going forward, the executive intends to continue to rely on product collaborations, too, with the goal to further amplify brand awareness in specific markets or across different industries. Most recently, Coccinelle released a capsule collection of bags developed with Shanghai-based designer Ji Cheng. First presented during Milan Fashion Week in September, the bags are available to purchase exclusively in China starting this month.
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