China’s first operator of international luxury outlet malls, Florentia Village, congratulated its tenth year in the country on June 12; the group presided over a celebration to attribute the company’s success to bringing affordable luxury and top quality experiences to the country’s growing middle-class.
Jacopo De Vena, who was promoted this year to Managing Director of RDM Asia, the Italian-invested firm which manages Florentia Village’s outlets in the region, said, “From early on, our intention has been to offer a unique Italian shopping experience to our Chinese customers, by providing a combination of amazing brand mix, authentic products, accessible locations, affordable prices and unbeatable service. We aim to make Florentia Village the leading international luxury designer outlet in China.”
Today, the company, which was born of RDM’s 20 years of experience in Italy’s luxury outlet sector, has grown from one outlet with 80 brands in 2011, to seven outlets and 1,200 stores, in the city of Beijing-Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangzhou-Foshan, Wuhan, Chengdu, Hong Kong and Chongqing.
Expanding Outlet Network
Now with over 300 brand stores, Florentia Village Beijing-Tianjin, the company’s first location in China hosts most of the world’s renowned luxury brands, such as Prada, Gucci, Burberry, Saint Laurent, Fendi, Loewe, Bottega Veneta, and Moncler. The location in one of China’s major urban corridor also is home to the exclusive outlet stores in China for brands such as Bvlgari, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Thom Browne, Roger Vivier, Christian Louboutin and Estee Lauder.
During the coming months, Florentia Village will open an additional 27,000 square metre with 120 stores in the second phase of its Shanghai project. In Chengdu, the outlet mall’s successful location is adding a 30,000 square metre, two-storey extension, which will welcome around another 100 new brand stores. In total, the Shanghai and Chengdu locations will be home to over 500 brand stores.
“The China market, especially Shanghai and Chengdu, is growing rapidly as international brands continue their aggressive expansion in these two cities,” said Maurizio Lupi, CEO of Florentia Village and RDM Asia. Having led Florentia Village in China since the very beginning, and played a key role in its success, Lupi is now dividing his time between RDM’s global base in Italy, while still looking after the mainland market.
More in the new Shanghai expansion, the company is adding experiential elements that give shoppers and their families more reasons to spend the day at Florentia Village. Applying a template already proven at the company’s Guangzhou, Wuhan, Chengdu and Chongqing locations, Florentia Village Shanghai Phase II will include a 3,000-square-meter jungle-themed Family Entertainment Center.
“Today’s consumer wants unique experiences more than ever before, and we have made this a key component of our mission, as we expand Florentia Village,” Lupi said. “By providing Chinese families with experiential destinations that can simulate the excitement of international travel our outlets have proven to enjoy resilient appeal and to have built a dedicated customer base.”
The new facility adds indoor playgrounds, leisure facilities and lifestyle services, aimed at making Florentia Village the ultimate destination for travel, leisure, entertainment and shopping.
In addition to the new facilities and expansion of its physical locations, RDM group has been continuing its drive to establish an omnichannel luxury retail platform in China.
Retail Tech Italian-Style
After the recovery of the Covid-19, Florentia Village Outlet Malls across China still managed to grow its total sales by 7 percent to around RMB 10 billion (over US$1.5 billion) during 2020, showing the resiliency of outlet retail and Chinese consumer demand. The portfolio is expected to attract 25 million visitors and grow 33% in sales by year end.
“During the initial closures at the start of last year, we saw an opportunity to leverage our digital resources and online channels to connect with our customers and to recruit new ones,” said De Vena. “With Florentia Village’s digital retail network, including the WeChat Miniprogram and e-commerce website, we were able to provide our customers with a seamless shopping experience.”
The 2020 online success has proved the inevitable existence of an omnichannel platform that now spans from physical locations, virtual pop-up stores, e-commerce platforms and an e-gift card platform in addition to the loyalty card arrangement and a portfolio of WeChat mini-programs.
The company’s loyalty card system allows shoppers to earn points through purchases at its physical locations, via the WeChat miniprogram or on its dedicated fvshop.com website. The loyalty card membership has grown more than 40 percent during last year, to where it now includes over 2 million consumers and is projected to grow another 30% in 2021.
The Road Ahead
After having already established locations in Beijing-Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Wuhan, Chengdu, and Chongqing, Florentia Village will continue to expand its luxury retail presence in China.
“Having operated our luxury outlets in China for a decade now, we are convinced that the nation’s economy will only continue to develop,” said Lupi. “The country’s momentum is unstoppable and we are ready to work with our customers and local authorities to expand and enrich the community.”
Beyond the plans for Shanghai and Chengdu this year, the group’s investment pipeline also includes phase II projects at Florentia Villages in Wuhan and Chongqing, a phase III project in Chengdu, and phase V of Florentia Village Beijing-Tianjin.
“There is a huge appetite for luxury goods, as more and more Chinese consumers discover international brands and are increasingly looking to do so at an affordable price,” De Vena said. “From our experience here and in Europe, the outlet market will only continue to grow.”
With the successful 10-year anniversary celebration during the past weekend, De Vena and RDM Asia already have turned their thoughts to Florentia Village’s next decade in China.
Official website: www.florentiavillage.com