Ergonomically Luxe

February 21, 2024 | By Anurima Das

Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle, a pioneering leader in lifestyle retail across the GCC,  just launched Poltrona Frau the 112-year-old luxury Italian furniture brand, at Mall of the Emirates. The milestone marks the brand’s second store in Dubai and the first mall-based store worldwide.

Following the successful debut of the newly designed showroom in Jumeirah, the iconic Poltrona Frau brand now graces a line-up of high-end luxury names in the UAE’s premier shopping destination. Since partnering with Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle in January 2023, Poltrona Frau has seen around 30% growth in the UAE, with revenue expected to double this year. The local brand success is largely attributed to effective designer collaborations, strategic partnerships, and operational enhancements including the significant reduction in stock order fulfillment, streamlined from three months to just a few days.

With the launch helping the business boost its growth, Nicola Coropulis, Chief Executive Officer of Poltrona Frau spoke to us to give us more business insights and share growth plans.

Tell us a little about the business and its journey in the Middle East and globally, so far.

Poltrona Frau has had an extraordinary journey. As we wrapped up 2023, we found ourselves marking the best results in our history, indicating consistent growth in our revenues and profits. The Middle East has played a significant role in this expansion, particularly due to our partnership with Majid Al Futtaim, which has been instrumental in driving our success in the Emirates.

    Globally, how many stores do you have?

    Across the globe, Poltrona Frau boasts approximately 70 mono-brand stores and 100 branded spaces. By “branded spaces”, I am referring to dedicated sections for Poltrona Frau within general stores. Additionally, we operate 12 direct stores in some of the most important capitals worldwide.

    You have a very strong base in the B2B space, what’s your expectations with the B2C front? 

    While it’s true that we are well-established within the B2B space and it’s the biggest chunk of our business, because we are known for collaborating with the most important brands there, the majority of our business is consumer-focused. Our new store here in Dubai, nestled within one of the world’s most influential retail spaces, is a clear sign of the commitment that we are putting into the consumer space. We will get closer to our customers and access new ones because we are located in the luxury part of the Mall of the Emirates.

    In terms of marketing, how do you look to make the customer aware and ready for what you have new in store?

    Building awareness is a long-term cultural process that necessitates coordination across all customer touchpoints. We leverage a mix of traditional advertising, outdoor advertising, digital media, social media, and our website. Additionally, we aim to maintain a presence in areas where we can attract a large number of people who might not yet be familiar with us, such as the luxury section of this mall. Traditionally, people may go to, say, the Jumeirah area, to buy furniture. But when you visit a mall, here for other reasons as well, and popping into a store like ours can be a part of that experience and tell you more about the brand and products.

    As a leader what are the top 2-3 trends that you see ruling retail in 2024? And what are your expansion plans for 2024?

    In the realm of luxury retail, customisation is a significant trend, and we cater to that by delivering items that are exclusive to our clients. Customers are increasingly prioritising comfort and function over aesthetics. The ability to match the good design with comfort and function is important. Sustainability is another key trend that we observe at various levels. At Poltrona Frau, we contribute to this trend not only through our use of natural materials but also by producing durable products designed to last a long time.

    What are your expansion plans for 2024?

    We continue to cement Poltrona Frau as the ultimate luxury lifestyle brand in the Middle East and pursue collaborations and partnerships that focus on this mission just as we did in 2023 with Zayed National Museum, Execujet, BMW, and prominent design-focused events such as Downtown Design. We are also exploring opportunities to expand the brand’s presence regionally, watch this space! 

      Why do you think AI and technology will change the face of retail in the future?

      Regarding AI, I believe it has the potential to revolutionise the retail sector if properly managed and guided. While it’s challenging to predict the exact outcomes, I am confident that all technological advancements can yield benefits if steered correctly.

      Tell us a little bit about our partnership with Majid Al Futtiam, and why you chose the Middle East as your offline base? 

      The Middle East, being at the crossroads of Asia, Europe, and Africa, attracts a multicultural population with a strong understanding and appreciation for luxury lifestyle experiences. This was a key factor in our decision to establish an offline presence here. Our partnership with Majid Al Futtaim has been instrumental in facilitating our success in this region.

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