There is a storm brewing among Flagship Stores: H&M is also closing in Milan

29 May 2017

"The decision is tied to the economic sustainability of these specific stores. The retail sector is constantly evolving and the company has to adapt to these changes." A few words from the H&M management to explain the decision to close the Piazza San Babila flagship store in Milan, where the Italian expansion of the brand started in 2003, on 31st July, at the end of the sales. Perhaps this is less of a hit than the similar decision to close another famous flagship store, the Ralph Lauren one in New York, but it is still significant. The store is definitely a strategic crux in global retail. In the USA, restructuring is proceeding at a forced pace, particularly in fashion and the numbers are very indicative. Abercrombie & Fitch and Guess will get rid of 60 stores each, and Sears (150), The Limited (250), American Apparel (104) and Wet Seal (171) have already closed their shutters. We have spoken several times about the Aeropostale crisis on these pages. Italy could not be exempt from the worldwide restructuring. The fate of the two American Apparel, flagships in Rome and Milan did not cause much of a stir. There was no hope of maintaining a future for the Italian stores, even in the short term. The Californian brand was bought at auction last January by Canadian Gildan Activewear but it did not buy any of the 110 active stores. The Milanese American Apparel store, famous for its unusual advertising campaigns, only opened in Porta Ticinese ten years ago. The times of international competition in retail are shrinking at dizzying rates.