Benetton Group closes flagship store in central Milan to focus on smaller shops

MILAN, March 23 (Reuters) - Italian clothing retailer Benetton Group has shut down its flagship store in the centre of Milan, it said on Tuesday, in order to focus on smaller shops after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic has led us to reconsider our commercial strategy and in particular the one regarding large-scale stores,” said Benetton Group, when asked about the reasons for the closure.

The group added it had for the time being decided to prioritise shops of around 160-250 square metres in size rather than so-called mega-stores.

The Benetton flagship store, which overlooks the square of the Duomo cathedral in Italy’s fashion capital, was 1,750 square metres in size, over three levels, and was opened in 2003.

Benetton has 4,468 shops worldwide, including 1,200 in Italy, most of which operate as franchises.

A year ago the loss-making group appointed Massimo Renon, the former boss of eyewear group Marcolin, as chief executive to ramp up efforts to turn the company around.

The group reported a net loss of 250 million euros ($296.5 million) in 2020, Italian newspaper Repubblica’s Affari & Finanza reported earlier this year.

$1 = 0.8432 euros Reporting by Elisa Anzolin; Editing by Jan Harvey