x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Armani no longer just clothing

Armani has expanded beyond clothing, but some of its projects are taking longer to materialise than expected.

The Italian fashion house Giorgio Armani was founded in 1975 in Milan by the designer and his friend and business partner Sergio Galeotti. Gaining popularity for the trademark understated style of its clothes, it quickly established itself as a leading fashion brand and started to expand internationally in 1979.

The company has spent much of the past decade expanding its portfolio across a diverse range of products. Mr Armani now designs, manufactures, distributes and retails a wide range of fashion and lifestyle products including home furnishings through its Casa Armani stores, eyewear, watches, jewellery, fragrances and cosmetics. It also runs a chain of cafes. Mr Armani is the company's president, chief executive and sole shareholder.

Last year, as the result of a tie-up with Dubai's Emaar Properties, the Armani Hotel in the Burj Khalifa marked the company's entry into the hotel industry. Emaar and Armani established Armani Hotels and Resorts in 2005, with the aim of opening 10 Armani hotels and resorts over the next decade, in locations such as London, Shanghai and New York.

The projects are taking longer to materialise than expected.

"Those projects are still in the pipeline and they will come over time, but we decided to focus on other projects, which were already more advanced," said Mr Armani.

But work is continuing on an Armani villa project in Marassi, Egypt, which is part of a Dh6.39 billion (US$1.74bn) Emaar development, and an Armani resort in Marrakech, he said.

Armani reported a turnover of €6 billion (Dh28.6bn) in 2009. The company has 5,000 direct employees, 13 factories and about 500 retail stores worldwide.

* Rebecca Bundhun