Prada: The Incredible Growth Story Of The Luxurious Fashion Icon


Photo: AP

Prada is about to launch an IPO in China, but this is hardly the beginning for the fashion firm’s growth story.It’s recent 11-minute catwalk show at Hong Kong’s Grand Hyatt was planned solely to garner attention for its thrice delayed IPO, but this firm has been flashy for nearly 100 years.

Prada’s offering aims to raise $2 billion to pay down its $1.44 billion in debt and fund expansion across Asia, where retail sales are expected to boom in the coming years.

In light of its Hong Kong IPO, here’s how Prada got to these heights..

Mario Prada opened his first store in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, in Milan in 1913. The exclusive store sold leather bags, trunks, and luxury accessories

Source: The Prada Group

In 1919, Prada became an official supplier to the Italian Royal Family

It got approval to use the House of Savoy's coat of arms and distinct knotted rope design in its logo. The House of Savoy ruled Italy for 85 years from 1861 until the end of WWII.

Source: The Prada Group

Miuccia Prada took over the company in the late 1970s and turned the brand around

In 1977, Patrizio Bertelli, an Italian entrepreneur who had his own leathergoods enterprise, joined the company as business manager. Bertelli and Prada married in 1987. He is now the CEO of the company while Prada remains the head designer.

Prada's nylon bags that were processed to resemble silk were a huge success. Its backpack became a sensation once its launched in 1984.

Source: The Prada Group

Prada launched its first women's footwear collection in 1982

It was around this time that Prada began to expand across Europe into Florence, Paris and Madrid. In 1986, Prada opened its first U.S. store in New York.

Source: The Prada Group

In 1983, Prada opened only its second store in Milan. Today the brand has 265 directly operated stores in 85 countries

The second store in Via della Spiga in Milan showcased the new brand image. Prada's store itself had a blend of traditional and modern elements.

Their products also began to expand from leather goods (such as bags, luggage and accessories) to include footwear, as well as men's and women's ready-to-wear apparel.

Source: The Prada Group

In 1993, Prada launched its second brand Miu Miu and went on to buy stakes in fashion brands like Fendi

The brand also launched its first men's collection with clothing, footwear and accessories.

Source: The Prada Group

Starting 1999 the brand went on an acquisition spree

In 1999, Prada acquired Church's Group, a posh brand of English shoes. In 2001, it got the rights to the Car Shoe trademark, an Italian brand that specialised in driving shoes.

In 2003, it signed a 10-year licensing agreement with eye wear manufacturer Luxottica and entered a joint-venture with Spanish cosmetic manufacturer Puig Beauty & Fashion Group.

Source: The Prada Group

Prada launched a series of epicentre concept stores in New York, Tokyo and Los Angeles

Prada's epicentre stores became a large part of its distribution strategy. The stores were designed in collaboration with architects Rem Koolhaas and Herzog & de Meuron.

These stores were designed to provide a new shopping experience for customers by emphasising space in their stores and drawing on cultural influences in the decor.

Source: The Prada Group

LG launched the Prada Phone in 2007 with a touch screen

Over a million pieces of the phones were sold in the first year and a half after it launched. LG pitched the phone as being the first completely touch-screen mobile phone on the market and released it to rival the iPhone. The phone cost $780 when it first hit the market.

Source: The Prada Group

The brands sales have soared since the 1990s

In 1990, Prada announced sales of 31.7 million and posted $2.9 billion in sales in the fiscal year ending January 31, 2010.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Prada finally goes public

Prada first tried to float on the Milan Stock Exchange back in 2001 and then again in 2002 in an attempt to clear debts from its many acquisitions. The brand then restructured its debt and sold off many of its brands and planned another IPO late 2007 but the global downturn however ensured that IPO failed.

The luxury brand is finally set to list in Hong Kong.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Now here are some countries that Prada should look into...

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