Oh, Gio! Giorgio Armani Corporation is the US arm of Italian fashion house Giorgio Armani, owned by designer Giorgio Armani. Founded in 1979, the US Armani generates about a fourth of its parent's sales, making and selling upscale apparel for men, women, juniors, and babies. Its retail network spans some 50 Armani Exchange stores, a dozen Giorgio Armani boutiques, and a couple of Armani/Casa and Armani/Fiori shops. The company also has a dozen-plus Emporio Armani stores and is expanding the banner. Giorgio Armani licenses its name to manufacturers of perfume, cosmetics, watches, eyewear, jewelry, and accessories. A unit, Giorgio Armani Cosmetics operates within its own stores, as well as Nordstrom and Saks.
While privately owned Giorgio Armani doesn't report its financial performance, it has cited a slowdown in US business that may exceed rivals Prada and Marc Jacobs, part of LVMH. Demand in the Far East has helped to offset the slide as sales in China are said to post double-digit increases. In the US, the economic downturn and rise in joblessness briefly spurred affluent consumers to either trade down to less exclusive retailers and products, or curb their spending altogether.
Although the global luxury market is currently on the upswing, the US subsidiary may have missed opportunities from licensing certain product categories, notably clothing accessories. The company has introduced new labels, such as AX Armani Exchange and Armani Jeans, but claims modest success in marketing each brand's uniqueness to shoppers. The US subsidiary also sells Emporio Armani products online, as part of an ongoing strategy to expand through e-commerce.
Before the recession took root, the US subsidiary shifted roles in the executive suite. Bridget Ryan Berman, CEO since early 2006, was replaced by Bruno Laguardia in 2008. Laguardia had headed up Trimil, a joint venture established in 2000 between the Giorgio Armani group and Ermenegildo Zegna. Prior to forming the JV, he was an executive at Zegna. In contrast to rivals, designer Giorgio Armani retains 100% control over the business. – less