December 12 2023  |  Fashion, Bags & Accessories

Marcolin set to invest in travel retail and unleash category potential

By Laura Shirk

Strong competition within the sunglasses category and its luxury segment drives Marcolin to improve promotion of its iconic brands and rely on channels such as travel retail

With a pair of recent announcements, Marcolin has been busy this season. In September, the leading group in eyewear, announced the signing of an exclusive licensing agreement for the design, production and worldwide distribution of MCM Eyewear. According to the company, MCM champions a new age of elegance, while addressing the nuanced requirements of the modern traveler. The first Marcolin-produced line of sunglasses and optical eyewear will be available starting January 2024 at select stores. The deal is slated until the end of December 2028.

Two months later, Marcolin shared that it had finalized the acquisition of ic! Berlin GmbH, an independent eyewear manufacturer established in Berlin in 1996. Awarded for its stellar design, ic! Berlin performs in-house prototyping, manufacturing and assembling of its luxury sunglasses and optical frames. Marcolin will take full control of the company, integrating approximately 140 employees. “The acquisition is part of Marcolin’s strategy to enhance its expertise in metal manufacturing and broaden its luxury portfolio, a segment with huge potential, while also strengthening its market positioning in key areas such as Asia and Europe,” explained the company at the time of the announcement.

The company recently approved a multi-year business plan aimed at unlocking the full potential of the channel

Global Travel Retail Magazine connected with Marcolin Global Channels Director Alessandro Bubola for an update on the sunglasses category and its luxury segment. Bubola says strong competition within the category and segment drives Marcolin to improve the marketing and promotion of its iconic brands and rely on channels such as travel retail. The company’s latest collaboration in duty free is with Estée Lauder. He also points out that Asia Pacific is a region with huge category potential.

“Travel retail has been a key channel for growth this year, and it will be even more in the future. We’ve recently approved a multi-year business plan aimed at unlocking the full potential of this channel post-pandemic. Working together with our travel retail partners across all markets we aim to showcase our sunglasses, with a strong focus on providing exclusive experiences for travelers. As a consequence, we are confident this approach will bring consistent results in terms of sales,” says Bubola.

To reveal the potential of Marcolin’s brand portfolio within the channel, Bubola notes that it is set to increase investment in trade and communications, team development and customer service, and grow the number of people with a dedicated focus on travel retail.

The company is approaching 2024 with a sense of optimism; it has already started working on several channel exclusive projects. Bubola says next year will be the year of the new TOM FORD EYEWEAR Travel Exclusive: a capsule that will celebrate the relaunch of the channel. Projects are also in the works centered on the brand ZEGNA Eyewear.

Speaking about what digital solutions are in place to generate brand awareness and increase sales in-store and offline, Bubola explains that Marcolin has exploited the potential of digital transformation and technology to improve the training of its employees and their skills, which are the basis of its know-how. “From an initial training purpose, we extended the application of our digital tools to the customer experience, with the aim of transferring knowledge about our identity and uniqueness. This spans our creative process to the phases where tradition and craftsmanship combine with technological innovation and manufacturing 4.0,” he says.

Alessandro Bubola, Global Channels Director, Marcolin

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