Luciano Benetton, founder of the Italian fashion chain, will take back control at the age of 82. He wants to return his company to its former glory: “The decay is unbearable”, he announced in the La Repubblica paper.
Luciano was in charge of Benetton until 2008, but the brand’s grandeur seems to have dissipated ever since. The brand, founded in 1965 and known for its avant-garde and provocative style, seems to be in a downward spiral. The 82-year old gave an extensive interview to the Italian paper La Repubblica and tackled the company’s rapidly-declining turnover: it has turned a 155 million euro capital in 2008 into a 2016 loss of 81 million euro.
United Colors has lost its colours, he said. “The message is unity and that has turned the brand into a global success, but that has now all gone. Instead, we have a sombre and sad atmosphere in our stores.” He feels that the decision to eliminate the iconic Benetton sweaters was the brand’s biggest mistake. He cannot comprehend that decision. “It seems like my successors did that on purpose.”
Back on track
Marco Airoldi, who was in charge of the Benetton Fashion Company since 2014, left the company in May 2016. Ever since Luciano Benetton retired, the company’s leadership has been anything but stable: son Alessandro, who had been vice chairman for six years, took over, but quickly passed the reins to managers outside of the family.
Father Benetton is not the only one to return to the company: sister Giuliana, 80 years old, has begun making sweaters again and famed photographer Oliviero Toscani will bring back the message of integration. “We are developing a new product, innovating our store network, looking at our colour range, in short: we are regrouping”, Luciano Benetton said.
Concerning the number of employees, which dropped from 9,766 to 7,328 between 2008 and 2017: “Everyone will get a chance, but the company will need to become less cumbersome.”