Benetton Group to return Sisley to Kazan in new format and on new conditions

The middle-class clothes shop will open in new KazanMall shopping centre, entrepreneur Adel Yagudin became the brand’s new partner

Benetton Group to return Sisley to Kazan in new format and on new conditions
Photo: retail.ru

As Realnoe Vremya found out, Sisley designer clothes shop will return to the republic’s capital several years after its departure from Kazan. Owners of Italy’s Benetton Group planned to focus on opening new stores only in Moscow and Saint Petersburg without distracting to regions. But it was decided to make an exception for Kazan — thanks to a local partner’s insistence. It will be the second attempt to fix the brand in Tatarstan’s capital — the first attempt was a fiasco due to a bad location of the store and a different format, the brand’s Moscow office says. Meanwhile, experts are expectedly sceptical, the pandemic isn’t the best time to open expensive clothes shops in regions, they consider.

First Rich & Raw Sisley

This February Italy’s Benetton Group began to open Sisley stores in Russian capitals. Group was going to open 20 stores in three years, investments were evaluated at a billion rubles. The brand’s promotion campaign obviously included Kazan. Tatarstan entrepreneur Adel Yagudin who represents INDEVER menswear tailor’s shop told Realnoe Vremya he signed an agreement with Sisley’s Moscow office and would open the brand’s store in Kazan.

“We will open in KazanMall,” Yagudin said. “Our location is gorgeous, we are among the top tenants on the first floor. Our area is 170 square metres, of which about 110-115 square metres are the trading area. It will be the first Rich & Raw Sisley store in Russia.”

Sisley will present 80% of women’s and 20% of men’s clothes in Kazan designed for a young audience. Jeans account for a considerable part of the collection, while seasonal capsule collections will become the gimmick: not autumn-winter but separate collections for November, December, January and so on.

“We will open in KazanMall,” Yagudin said. Photo: Teamsky / skyscrapercity.com

Why the store on Bauman Street closed

Sisley is a French clothing brand founded in 1968. In 1974, it was purchased by Italy’s Benetton company. Today its style is defined as “100% Italian”. It is one of the biggest fashion world players designed to meet the needs of well-off youth.

Sisley arrived in Kazan for the first time over 10 years ago. The mono-brand store opened at the corner of Bauman and Astronomicheskaya Streets where Benetton was registered, then it moved closer to the Kremlin where costlier brands Max Mara, Marina Rinaldi were based at that moment.

However, in the second half of the 2010s, Sisley stores began to close in different regions of Russia. The store in Yekaterinburg stopped operating in January 2016, while Director General of Zavam Oleg Akhramovich who represented the brand in Krasnoyarsk announced: “We decided to close the store because it became unprofitable to develop this project”. Brand manager of Sisley in Moscow Artur Zakharyan commented on the second arrival of the brand in Kazan and didn’t manage to remember the accurate date of closure of the first store in Tatarstan but he noted that only unprofitable shops closed in the 2015-2016s:

“It was about half of all existing stores by that moment [in Russia]. The brand has had both retail shops and partner stores in the Russian market all this time.”

Artur Zakharyan noted that only unprofitable shops closed in the 2015-2016s. Photo: kgs.ru

According to him, one of the reasons for the closure wasn’t the economy but its location on Bauman Street:

“The thing is that people prefer to talk in the street, not go shopping. While stores were turning into shopping malls then where people do the shopping deliberately”.

Businessman Aydar Gataullin had the franchise during those years. Together with Sisley, the entrepreneur also dealt with the popular Mango.

Brand enters new segment

As Zakharyan said, not just a comeback of the brand was planned in Kazan in 2020.

“At that moment, by its departure, the brand already was in the mass market, now it returns to a bridge brand. It means better quality and higher prices. While the store that will open in KazanMall is a part of Sisley’s new global strategy — the first Rich & Raw concept store in Russia. Sisley will open in the new concept in Moscow only in November.”

According to the brand manager, with the brand’s transition to the new segment, the quality of fabric improved too. Now the collections comprise of primarily natural fabrics. The average value of a good is planned to total 6,000 rubles, the average ticket — 10-11,000.

The company considers Tatarstan as a promising region with a sufficient number of wealthy clients who afford themselves wearing branded clothes from the bridge segment (at the crossroads between prêt-à-porter and the mass market). The concept Rich & Raw is designed for (relatively, from 25 to 40 years) young and well-off consumers.

The amount of investments in Sisley store in Kazan isn’t revealed. However, the representative of the brand clarified that the opening would cost by as little as 20-30% more than the brand’s previous arrival in Kazan. However, the company expectedly doesn’t doubt the costs will pay back.

“If you had 10 million on your card, and now 8 left, you won’t stop buying”

In Adel Yagudin’s opinion, the pandemic and crisis haven’t had a significant influence on the brand clothes market. “If people wore clothes from a higher segment, not middle-class but luxury, they have had less money, we can say that they will highly likely not refuse clothes but switch from expensive brands to cheaper ones, they will buy cheaper clothes,” he is convinced.

“Some people are saving very much, of course. Their situation is sad, but we aren’t talking about it. But if you had 10 million on your card, and now 8 left, you won’t stop buying. There are problems but they are solvable. Kazan is tired of the brands that have been here for years, while Sisley has been absent for long. It will be a new brook in this price bracket,” Yagudin is sure.

The entrepreneur believes that the coronavirus pandemic only favours the brand’s success in Kazan. While the borders are closed, people who got used to buying clothes abroad will go to the local shopping centre. He is going to develop Sisley simultaneously with his other business projects.

“Not the right time, not the right mentality”

“Late October isn’t the best time to open a store,” Director General of A-Development consultancy Murat Akhmerov commented on the arrival of Sisley in Kazan for Realnoe Vremya. “The pandemic is at its height now, and even rich clients don’t tend to spend money and go shopping. New Year is another case, everybody will traditionally be shopping before it.”

Designer Nadezhda Ayupova doesn’t really believe in Sisley project’s success in Kazan.

“I will be looking forward to the opening of this sophisticated brand, but I am afraid the fate of other European brands that came to Kazan with the opening of Mega but had to close several years later awaits it,” she said. “The problem is that the euro is expensive now, this is why there will turn out a few buyers who will want to buy the clothes. Young and sophisticated people who are interested in it simply don’t have enough money. While our wealthy people focus on other purchases due to mentality. They usually buy expensive cars, houses and smartphones, invest in children’s education, buy good food, not fashionable clothes. Those who are ready to spend have stores with European brands that have been operating in our market for long, they have a clientele with quite a conservative taste, and these clients will not switch to Sisley.”

Nevertheless, not all experts agree with it. The brand can secure success with the correct approach.

“A mixture of tenants from different price categories provides a good effect,” says authorised representative of the Russian Guild of Managers and Developers in Tatarstan Yelena Stryukova who cautiously expressed her opinion about the prospects of the store in a new place — in KazanMall. “Take even Mega or Tandem in Kazan. There are a lot of positive examples. The location in big shopping malls for tenants from the upper-class segment also makes the brand recognisable. Such tenants are well placed and conveniently located in the shopping mall. There is no doubt about the latter, professionals developed the concept.”
By Inna Serova
Tatarstan