Camicissima, the Milanese company of the Candido brothers and the third generation of the clothing factory created in the 30s in Palermo by their grandfather Giovanni, is riding the wave of China’s burgeoning clothing market in an unexpected way.
The forecast is to open another 60 stores this year which will be added to the existing 180 stores at the end of last year.
After two years of grueling negotiations during 2012 and 2013,Camicissima forged in 2014 a partnership with the Chinese partner Zhejiang Baoxiniao Garment, a clothing giant with over 1,400 shops in China.
“But it was useful to get to know each other thoroughly,” said president of Camicissima Fabio Candido. The company has more than 300 stores worldwide and reached almost 50 million in turnover in 2018 and an ebitda margin of 15.3 percent. The company saw double-digit growth for many years thanks to China’s huge market.
The success in the Chinese mainland was made possible by the virtuous combination of at least three factors: the possibility of leveraging the partner's experience to choose locations for Camicissima store openings, which are single-brand and marked with the name written in Italian characters; mid- to high-end product series with an unique Italian style; and a global supply chain that mainly exploits the synergistic effect of Southeast Asian markets.
With regards to the openings, the collaboration with Baoxiniaio Garment was, in addition to the first- and second-tier cities, essential above all to identify the third- and fourth- tier cities, where have not yet been explored by western brands until today. The data, as always in China, is staggering. The population of Chinese cities reaches 793 million people and it is estimated that by 2030 there will be 350 million people moving to urban centers.
In 2018 the cities with 1 million inhabitants were 260. 36.5 percent of internet users come from 130 third- and fourth- tier cities, out of a population of around 160 million inhabitants. The percentage is consistently growing thanks to mobile internet connections.
“But all this would not have been enough if we had not decided to invest directly in one of our subsidiary companies in the Chinese jv that manages the logistics and all the post-sales activities, including the in-store training of the sales assistants and the close monitoring of the quality of the service,” explained Candido, who has so far financed the expansion in China with the resources generated by the company, where the shirt is sold at a price higher than in Italy and the rest of Europe, around 50-60 euros, against 90 euros in the Chinese market.
Candido, whose specialization is in the commercial activities, focuses on a double strategy: on the one hand the expansion to foreign markets, which can replicate the Chinese experience, on the other hand the attempt to aggregate smaller domestic operators who fail to have enough financial strength to push their product into international markets.
Among the large target countries, Candido has chosen India and Russia as his coveted markets. On the aggregations for the moment he doesn't want to commit himself, but it is quite clear that the names of the possible acquisitions have already been identified.
Camicissima, production of shirts, mainly for men
Turnover in 2018: approximately 50 million euros
Fabio Candido, President
Fenicia spa - Piazza Cavour 3 - 20121 Milan, Italy
Tel: +39 02 636964 - email: [email protected]