EXCLUSIVE: Trussardi Suspends Direct Operations in China

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SHANGHAI — Italian luxury brand Trussardi is in the process of suspending direct operations in China, WWD has learned.

Trussardi is among the first luxury brands to cease operations in the China market as the country comes out of various COVID-19-related lockdowns in recent months.

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The brand has one directly operated outlet store in Shanghai. Franchise businesses, including fashion apparel stores and a Tmall perfume store, remain in operation.

“The brand will continue to be present through its franchising and wholesale partners, which have historically been its main business channels in the market,” Sebastian Suhl, the brand’s chief executive officer, said in a statement issued to WWD.

“While the brand’s ambition and goals for entering the Chinese market remain a priority, the strategy has evolved in light of the changing context in the market,” Suhl said.

According to Chinese online map operator Gaode, six Trussardi apparel stores and one Trussardi outlet store in second-tier cities including Wuhan, Jinan, Zhengzhou and Ningbo, remain in operation. All seven stores are franchise businesses.

It’s common for western brands to enter the China market via franchise operations, who are more familiar with the local retail landscape. Once business takes off, it’s also common for the brand to take back partial or full control of retail operations.

According to local media outlets, in 2005, Trussardi entered the China market via the Italian franchise company T.R.S. Evolution SpA, which Trussardi owns. T.R.S. was in charge of distributing Trussardi Jeans and Trussardi T’space brands in China. By 2006, Trussardi opened 30 apparel franchise shops and nine homeware franchise stores in the country.

In 2012, the brand opened its first flagship store in a Shanghai shopping mall by the Bund. Five years later, it opened a concept store in Shanghai’s prestigious luxury shopping destination Plaza 66. Both store listings have been delisted from Dianping, the Chinese version of Yelp.

Most recently, Trussardi closed a franchise apparel shop in the northeastern Chinese city of Dalian in June, according to a post shared on Xiaohongshu, the popular social-commerce platform.

Founded by Dante Trussardi in 1911, the luxury brand has been going through some changes since Italian independent asset management company QuattroR, which specializes in corporate restructuring, took a controlling stake in the company in 2019.

Suhl joined after the QuattroR deal, telling WWD this February that the brand has been slashing “the previous complex set of multiple Trussardi brands” to focus on the single signature label.

Suhl also said the brand has growth opportunities in markets such as the U.S. The company has around 60 stores, 30 franchised units and the brand is available at 900 doors worldwide.

Last May, Trussardi hired Serhat Işık and Benjamin A. Huseby, the creative duo behind Berlin-based GmbH brand, as new creative directors, filling the spot that has been left vacant since Gaia Trussardi’s exit in 2018.

Under Işık and Huseby, Trussardi revealed its new brand identity by reinterpreting the Trussardi name with a “fresh and more modern, decisive lettering with generous spacing” in a new font. Its signature greyhound was also modernized into a graphic circular form representing life’s eternal and cyclical renewal.

Işık and Huseby’s first collection for Trussardi made its debut during Milan Fashion Week this February, fusing underground allure with the brand’s elegant and timeless appeal.

Launch Gallery: Trussardi RTW Fall 2022

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