Fendi Changes Focus


May 3, 2002

Fendi Changes Focus

Fine jewelers and watch retailers are now the focus of all Fendi watch sales, said Taramax USA, which holds the global license for Fendi timepieces.

Last fall, Taramax began repurchasing all remaining inventory from department stores and will sell exclusively through fine jewelers and watch retailers this fall, Taramax CEO Tom Venables said at the Basel 2002 Show.

Venables said the company closed approximately 600 doors last fall and an additional 150 this spring, representing about 60% of the brands former distribution.

Earlier this year, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton purchased the remaining shares of Fendi from Prada. Venables said LVMH and his company intend to move the watches further upmarket and reposition sales starting at the opening luxury price points ($500) through independent jewelers.

Retailers will be offered full training, merchandising, marketing and advertising support, adds Venables. Four new managers have been hired in recent months as the repositioning moved forward. They include Ralph Othouse, international marketing director; Michael Feely, vice president of U.S. sales; Phyllis Botti-Smith, West Coast regional sales manager and Richard Fetzer, general operations manager.

Taramax, Spring Lakes, NJ, has a manufacturing facility in Neuchatel, Switzerland, and has made timepieces under exclusive contract to Fendi since 1987.

by Michael Thompson

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