After sounding out other potential partners, Rossignol has signed a co-branding agreement for eyewear with Italia Independent as an accessory to the new line of lifestyle apparel that has been developed by the large French ski company. The first collection will be presented at the Mido show in Milan, at the end of February.
Italia Independent signed a license with Adidas Originals two years ago, and it has developed items in collaboration with other brands such as Alcantara, Borsalino, Hublot and the Juventus football team.
The innovative company says it has about 1,800 clients for the Italian Independent brand in Italy and the same in the rest of the world. The brand generated 61.7 percent of the group's sales in the first half of 2017. The Adidas Originals line of eyewear came next with a share of 21.5 percent.
Meanwhile, the recently refinanced Italia Independent Group is starting to recover from two years of serious crisis under its new management, posting positive Ebitda of €35,000 for the first half of this year against a loss of €1,740,000 in the same period of 2016. A drop in the gross margin to 64.2 percent from 67.6 percent, which was mainly due to a clean-up of the inventories, was more than offset by a 19 percent drop in operating expenses.
After amortization and depreciation, the operating profit (Ebit) remained negative at €2.0 million, but it was only half of the Ebit loss of €4.4 million recorded in the first half of last year. The company ended up with net income of €3,143,000, up from the €2,656,000 loss of the first half of 2016, which had benefited from an extraordinary gain of €1.7 million.
After the departure of its two top managers, Giovanni Accongiagioco and Andrea Tessitore, who participated in the foundation of the group ten years ago, its new chief executive, Giovanni Carlino, has imposed a strong diet, cutting down costs and non-strategic investments, starting in the second half of 2016.
Revenues declined by only 1.7 percent to €16.0 million, with sales in the domestic Italian market dropping by 10.2 percent to €8.3 million. On the other hand, sales jumped by 131 percent in Spain to €2,851,000 and by 136 percent to €580,000 in Germany. Sales fell by 59 percent to €243,000 in France, where the business has been restructured. The Americas declined slightly to €1.1 million. In the rest of the world, sales fell by 20 percent to €2.9 million.
New distribution agreements have been signed for Portugal, the U.K., Russia and Latin America. The company still has its own subsidiaries in France, Spain and the U.S. It closed its Brazilian subsidiary in August 2016.
Despite its activities in other sectors such as communication and the development of lifestyle products, which are still going on, eyewear has remained the core business of the group, representing 82 percent of total revenues. Sales grew by 3.9 percent to €13.1 million in this segment.
Revenues from retailing fell by 27.4 percent to €292,000 in the first six months of this year. The group continues to operate seven Italia Independent stores, including those of Saint-Tropez and Miami, and four factory outlets directly, in addition to its web store. Three other stores are operated by franchisees. The company closed four stores in New York, Paris, Bologna and Turin in the first half of this year. It also opened three “temporary outlets,” followed by another one in July.
Sending out a strong message about its distinctive positioning in the market, Italian Independent has decided to launch a new communication platform around the theme “Disrupt the Future” from the autumn/winter 2017/18. It will be applied to all its marketing activities.