Salvatore Ferragamo’s Employees Strike for Possible Fragrance Deal

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MILAN — A group of Salvatore Ferragamo employees protested on Wednesday in a one-hour sit-in in front of the company’s Osmannoro plant, outside Florence.

The strike was announced last week by the Rsu and Filctem Cgil trade unions to express “strong opposition” to the fashion house’s ongoing exclusive negotiations with Interparfums Inc. for the worldwide licensing of Ferragamo branded perfumes.

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As reported, the Florentine company’s fragrance division has been managed in-house for two decades. Therefore, in a statement trade unions underscored that the possible deal implicates that “the rights and jobs of 40 workers are at risk.”

The unions stated that, “in the moment of the COVID-19’s greatest impact, workers have tightened their belts; with sacrifice they have contributed in overcoming the most difficult period by accepting the ‘Cassa integrazione’ [wage support measure] and the rescheduling of the vacation plan, but today [now] that the markets are reopening they expect their sacrifice to be rewarded.”

Hence, the trade unions are asking the company to interrupt the negotiations for the licensing deal. “Instead of the sale of strategic assets such as the one of perfumes, we expect the management to present an industrial plan that invests in innovation and employment,” read the document.

In response, the Salvatore Ferragamo company underscored that the possible licensing agreement “is aimed at ensuring a further boost to the perfume business and the continuity of the Made in Italy production. Negotiations with Interparfums are still ongoing; as already communicated to the trade unions, and as has already happened in the past, the company is ready to [take action] to offer the best possible solutions for workers.”

The potential licensing agreement with Interparfums wouldn’t be the first in the history of the Ferragamo fragrance business.

In 1994, the brand signed an agreement for the development and manufacturing of its first fragrance with Eurocos Cosmetics, a Germany-based division of Procter & Gamble.

After discontinuing the deal with nothing having been produced, in March 1997 Ferragamo and Bulgari formed a joint venture — each taking a 50 percent stake — called Ferragamo Parfums SA. At the time, Bulgari was given management responsibility under a service contract.

After a four-year-long partnership, the two parties amicably dissolved the joint venture contract, with Ferragamo, acquiring from Bulgari its 50 percent stake for an undisclosed sum. The Ferragamo Parfums division was established in 2001 to control the entire fragrance business in-house, from the development of the scent to the distribution.

Interparfums’ fragrance licenses include Boucheron, Coach, Jimmy Choo, Karl Lagerfeld, Kate Spade, Moncler, Montblanc, Paul Smith, Repetto, S.T. Dupont and Van Cleef & Arpels. The group also owns Lanvin fragrances and the Rochas brand.

In the first quarter of 2021, sales of Salvatore Ferragamo fragrances were up 5.3 percent to 10.5 million euros. Overall, in the three months ended March 31, the company’s revenues rose 10.3 percent to 244.6 million euros compared with 222 million euros in the same period last year.

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