Benetton - History and Present Structure
When Luciano and Giuliana Benetton, both grown up under the harsh
conditions of war and post war Italy, founded Benetton group in 1965,
they probably did never dream that one day their company would among
the most famous in the fashion industry. Yet, 34 years later, Benetton
is present in 120 countries and Edizione Holding, the holding company
of the family is now making a yearly turnover of XXX billion Lira.
Not at least due to their controversial advertising campaigns which
sparked strong reactions around the world, from outright ban to art
awards, Benetton has become known worldwide.
After the opening their first store in 1968 with a surface of only 40
square metres things were looking upwards soon. With the first
successes, Luciano's and Giulinana's younger brothers, Gilberto and
Carlo joined the business and since then Benetton has always relied on
family and friends in their growing need for executives.
Thanks to an attractive design of their products with a bold choice of
colors, a franchise system which allowed for expansion without large
investments, a closely coordinated production and innovations in
manufacturing techniques, Benetton rapidly conquered market shares,
first in Italy, then in Europe and overseas. In 1985, their annual
turnover had reached 900 billion Italian Lira and their network
included 3000 point of sales, mostly in Europe.
Since the late 1980s, Benetton is firmly engaged in a diversification
strategy. Starting with the acquisition of ski-boot manufacturer
Nordica in 1989, the group first moved into the sportssector. Other
sport brands were acquired soon afterwards, like Kästle for skis and
mountain bikes, Killer Loop for snowboards, Prince for tennis rackets
or Rollerblade for inline skating. In 1992, these activities were
bundled in a separate division, called Benetton Sportssystem. The
production of sports equipment was supplemented by the production of
sports wear, the aim being to provide the customer with both the
equipment and the clothing, thus realizing synergies from the existing
textile manufacturing facilities. Benetton Sportssystem is the
fastest growing division of Benetton group and it already represent
21,3% of turnover. With 55% of its sales realised in North America,
it is also much less focused on Europe.
While Benetton Sportssystem was still in connection with its original
business, in the 1990s Benetton diversified into areas which were
rather far from it, like retailing or the restaurant business. The
acquisition of shares in Autogrill, world leader in catering services
for travelers, and GS Gruppo, leader in the Italian food distribution
sector, left the Benetton family with 700 supermarkets, 21
hypermarkets and over 650 restaurants, producing a...