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Micam Vendors Look to Asia

MILAN — As Europe’s economic crisis ripples across the continent, exhibitors at Micam, held here Sept. 16-19, said they were setting their sights on Asia for future growth, as well as debuting new product technologies.

Geox SpA President Mario Polegato said the economic crisis in Europe is cutting into demand, but the company continues to introduce new technologies to spark consumer interest. “Geox aims to remain a leader in the market [by] focusing on new product lines and combining our technology with a contemporary style,” he said

On the retail side of the business, Polegato said the company recently revamped its New York boutique on Madison Avenue and has unveiled a new shop on the Upper West Side. Further projects are also in the works, including new store ventures in China and Hong Kong, where the company will open about 300 doors within the next three years.

Bruno Magli CEO Armin Mueller said he also is focusing on Asia for growth. In October, the company will debut a store in Beijing, and three to four additional shops are expected to launch within the next six months.

Mueller said the firm is preparing to relaunch its women’s collection in the U.S., following the appointment of Pat Malone as CEO of Bruno Magli USA. He added that a men’s line is set to debut for the Japanese market.

But in all its new ventures, Mueller said, the company is being very price conscious.

“We are always sensitive with regard to prices,” he explained. “What we do to be more in line with the market is to present the collection [with] some basic styles that keep all the qualities and features of our products, but at a more competitive price.”

Price wasn’t proving to be an issue for Spanish brand Pedro Garcia, according to CEO Mila Garcia.

“We took advantage of the [economic] crisis to reorganize our internal team, revise our distribution and raise the bar on our products,” Garcia said. “We are a bit more expensive now, but this is part of the natural evolution of the brand.”

Fabrizio Russo, commercial director at Luciano Padovan, said the company made a decision to focus on the Asian market, but he also is seeing signs of strength in the U.S.

“The American market is recovering,” Russo said. “I noticed the American buyers are a bit more fearless.”

At Minnetonka, the mood was similarly upbeat. “We are doing very well,” said director of international development Jennifer Melin Miller. “Asia is growing and we are opening several stores in China by the end of 2012. We also are planning to open two doors in Japan — in Tokyo and Osaka — next year.”

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