Translated by
Isabelle Crossley
Apr 16, 2021
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Brioni to lay off 320 people across its production plants in Italy

Translated by
Isabelle Crossley
Apr 16, 2021

Brioni, a brand already struggling to recover, was not spared from the pandemic. With its focus on men’s formal wear, the luxury brand has arguably been affected more than others by the changes to consumer behaviour caused by the lockdowns. The same can be said for its main competitors, Italian men’s ready-to-wear brands Corneliani and Pal Zileri.  The business has therefore decided upon a new restructuring which is outlined in its 2021-2025 business plan. 

Kering's brand Brioni is not out of the woods yet - @brioni

The plan was presented at a meeting inside the Italian Ministry for Economic Development, in the presence of representatives from the Ministry of Labour and the regions of Lombardy and Abruzzo as well as trade unions. The plan takes into account, “the profound transformation undergone in the luxury men’s formal wear market in the past few years, exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic,” Brioni said in a statement. Sales in the segment dropped by 30% last year, according to estimates compiled by Altagamma.
Brioni, which was acquired by Kering in 2011, had already caused serous concerns for the French business due to a significant drop in its sales and production volume. In 2016, the business shared its plan to reduce its workforce by a third, affecting close to 400 people out of its employee total of 1,150. In the end, only 140 people felt the effects of this plan, which also included a major company-wide restructure. 

Streamlining costs and restructuring 
The numerous investments subsequently made in marketing, events, and creative direction have evidently not enabled the brand to recover and the problem still persists today. “For all players in the sector, the current scenario is leading to the persistence of excessive production capacity and an unstable imbalance of industrial costs,” said the business. It has been forced to, “make its structure more agile in a stable manner while respecting its very high production quality.” 
As explained in its statement, the brand has no other choice but to rationalise its costs and to restructure its three production sites in Abruzzo if it wishes to continue its presence in Italy and maintain the high standard of its products. The brand’s famous tailor’s workshops, namely Penne, Montebello di Bertona, and Civitella Casanova are based in the region and employ over 1,000 people. 
Out of this workforce, the company plans to lay off, “up to a maximum of 320 workers who are employed directly and indirectly in production.” The aim is to, “implement all necessary actions for the recovery and development of the brand.”

One of Brioni's workshops - Foto: Brioni

Regarding the new strategy announced by Brioni, “the new plan focuses on the brand’s development in accessories and other product categories, with a focus on luxury casual wear to broaden its customer base and shopping potential.” With this in mind, the brand plans to continue 100% made in Italy production. 
The business is also looking to optimise its investments in its communication and distribution channels, rationalise its overheads, and reorganise its production to bring Brioni, “to sustainable levels of efficiency and profitability in the long term. 
Headed by Mehdi Benabadji since 2020, the brand has entrusted its collections to Austrian designer Norbert Stumpfl since September 2018. In 2019, the brand worked with Brad Pitt as a brand ambassador and has recently( created a capsule collection with the actor.    

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