Rinascente unveiled its Christmas windows on 3rd December 2020. Dubbed ‘A Christmas Journey’, the project hinged on two main concepts, both intended to enhance artisanal traditions and reconnect the audience with childhood memories. For the holiday season the retailer partnered with Lemax, a Chinese company specialized in music boxes and miniatures, to develop a series of windows in Milan and Rome re-creating enchanted Christmas villages with white slopes, moving trains and carousels, floating clouds and hot-air balloons. On the other hand, Rinascente continued to support San Gregorio Armeno, a historic street in Naples known for local artisan ateliers specializing in handmade figurines for nativity scenes.
After Milan last year, installations of moving statuettes, rich nativity scenes and larger-scaled statues of popular local actors and personalities developed by three ateliers were replicated for units in Turin and Florence. CEO Pier-Luigi Cocchini said the group will continue to focus on artisanal traditions also in the coming years. To reinforce the approach, he revealed that, as part of its restyling, the Florence location will feature corners dedicated to Italian craftsmanship, specifically in the leather goods, textile, jewellery and hat-making sectors. Despite the two different window themes, for the holiday season all stores were additionally embellished with lighting installations covering their facades.
In particular, the Milan flagship also appeared on an ad in local daily newspaper ‘Corriere della Sera’ on Wednesday, flanked by a letter dedicated to the city signed by Pier-Luigi Cocchini and the flagship store director Giorgio Caputo. “Dear Milan, 2020 has been a difficult year. We’re fighting together, working hard with all our forces…We believe in the restart, we believe we will overcome this moment, we believe in you, dear Milan,” read part of the message, which also invited customers to partake in the store’s Christmas experience in person as well as on its web site.
The company has been enhancing its digital footprint, with the launch of its e-commerce site earlier this year. The platform, which required three years to complete and an investment of €20mn, now showcases around 50,000 products from 800 brands operating in different segments. It experienced a tormented start due to the demand that exceeded expectations and left the company busy adjusting logistics procedures accordingly. Rinascente confirmed the sales estimates shared at the launch of the platform, when he said the online store is expected to generate revenues of between €80mn - €100mn in two years. So far, online sales have not compensated for the losses caused by the closure of brick-and-mortar locations due to the restrictions issued during the second wave of virus outbreak this fall.
Overall, Rinascente expects to close 2020 with sales down between 30-40% compared to last year, when it registered revenues of €800mn and reported double-digit growth compared to 2018. In the meantime, the retailer strengthened its on-demand service launched three years ago that enables sales assistants to support customers’ shopping experience remotely via WhatsApp messages, as well as implemented livestreaming sessions on the business-to-business front to facilitate operations with Chinese buyers.