Italian watches and jewellery distributor and manufacturer Morellato Group aims to raise its profile in travel retail via its portfolio of “quintessential” Italian brands. The company has selected four brands to lead the charge – Furla, Masserati and Trussardi watches and Morellato Jewels. The Moodie Davitt Report Managing Editor Kapila Gohel talked with President Massimo Carraro recently about the company’s travel retail ambitions.

“We are set up in travel retail, but now we need to grow up,” says Morellato Group President Massimo Carraro

“All our brands are Italian and our mission is to communicate Italian style to the world, starting with travel retail,” declares Morellato Group President Massimo Carraro.

As part of its plans to expand in travel retail, Morellato Group exhibited at TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition in Singapore and  TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes for the first time last year. The company received “excellent feedback” at both TFWA shows, says Carraro.

“Over the last few years, we have established ourselves in the Asian travel retail market, securing listings on over 20 key carriers. Our brands are very well known and appreciated in the region; Asian consumers continually seek well-known, fashionable, trendy products, which our portfolio provides,” he says.

The company is also developing its business in Europe and the Middle East. It has established teams in each of its focus markets – in Hong Kong for Asia Pacific, Dubai for the Middle East and Italy for Europe. The company also has ambitions for growth in the Americas, but is in “no hurry”, says Carraro, as it focuses first on stronger markets. “We see a tremendous opportunity for expansion. In the last 2-3 years, the travel retail channel has expanded the most for Morellato Group turnover.”

“Our mission is to communicate Italian style to the world, starting with travel retail” — Morellato Group President Massimo Carraro

Morellato Group, established in Venice in 1930, has become one of the most important names in Italian watches and jewellery. In 2016, the company generated turnover of €170 million. Travel retail is a key part of its expansion plans, a channel for which it has introduced in-house brand Morellato Jewels and licences with Furla, Trussardi and Maserati for watches.

Morellato aims to target the aspirational consumer of Maserati’s luxury cars with the brand’s watches

The company’s travel retail strategy focuses on its brands’ competitiveness in terms of price, quality and design. “We are the only company in the world that is offering Italian style in the jewellery and watches category,” he notes. “Together, our brands are interpreters of Italian tradition, luxury and fashion.”

Carraro explains the company sees Italian brands working well in travel retail if the value to price ratio is correct. “Our brand offer sits comfortably in that space. We are set up in travel retail, but now we need to grow up.”

Morellato Group intends to communicate the DNA of each of its brands in travel retail, all of which offer the latest trends in jewellery and watches. “With Furla, it is customisation. Innovation technology is at the heart of Maserati, and thirdly there is a strong identity across all our brands,” he explains.

“There are so many watches in the world that you don’t necessarily need one more. Consumers are looking for exciting experiences and products with a strong identity. That’s our mission and our offer – Italian brands.”

Within the Maserati product offer, Morellato offers automatic movement watches at a competitive price point under US$400. With Furla, customisation is highlighted by replacing the watch strap, the bezel or by the addition of charms.

Personalisation is a key trend presented in the Furla watch range. The wearer is able to change the strap, the bezel or add charms to personalise their timepiece.

At the TFWA Exhibition in Cannes, Morelatto showcased Furla Watches designs Elisir, Pin, My Piper, Giada, and Eva. The leather straps in Furla’s watches collection is the same used for the brand’s leathergoods. The personalisation element is found on both the straps and charms of the new Pin line, which is an homage to the best-selling Furla Metropolis bag.

The Potenza design is the best-seller for Maserati watches. “It launched in the inflight channel two years ago starting in Asia with Cathay Pacific. When it started to sell well, other smaller airlines also wanted to list it. It’s still one of the best-sellers inflight for us,” says Carraro.

Morellato Group has most target demographics covered with its brand portfolio, he says: “Our target consumer is, in fact, the brand target consumer. For the Furla watch it is the same customer who buys the Furla bag. For Maserati, it is the aspirational consumer of the Maserati luxury car. Overall, our aim is to offer luxury Italian design with value for price.”