The ground floor of the retail space will feature The LAB, an area dedicated to exclusive product collaborations and limited collections from various VF brands

The ground floor of the retail space will feature The LAB, an area dedicated to exclusive product collaborations and limited collections from various VF brands

Apparel giant VF Corp has opened its first multi-brand store in a move aimed at creating a new approach to retail and furthering its strategy to become more consumer-minded, retail-centric, and hyper-digital. 

Based in Milan, Italy, Orefici11 offers products from three of the group's hero brands, The North Face, Timberland, and Napapijri. It also features The LAB, an area dedicated to sustainable innovation, exclusive product collaborations, and limited collections from various VF brands.

Speaking on an episode of VF Audio Bites, Martino Scabbia Guerrini, VF's group president of the EMEA region, says the strategy behind the new concept is to build on all the brand's strengths and create a different approach to retail. 

"There are two changes that are very important and will stay relevant in the future. Number one is bringing together different brands and making sure that those brands are addressing the right pace of newness, innovation, and local relevance. The second component is digital."

Guerrini explains consumers can take a virtual tour of the store and live streaming is also available if shoppers are unable to visit in person due to the Covid-19 restrictions. It also boasts full mobile cloud-based POS to enable the likes of click and collect, and ship from store.

He adds the aim is for the new concept to have a "big" impact on VF's strategy in other metropolitan hubs, noting the model could be suited to big tourist centres such as the Dubai Mall and large airports in Asia which call for experience, entertainment and, to a certain extent,  innovation.

"That's what we're trying to drive; something that has an influence on the way we're going to operate stores in the future, and then something that you tier and segment according to the different locations, of the different stages of the brands."

In terms of if the concept is likely to drive demand among consumers for a new mode of retail, Guerrini says he hopes VF's efforts will create a space that generates what the group calls 'one plus one equals three', meaning that it enhances consumer's desire to shop physically. 

"We'll bring conversion to a much higher performance because of the newness and the innovation in the products but also the storytelling surrounding these products, and hopefully we'll bring the integration with the digital capabilities and experience to a better fast connection with consumers."

Discussing the key takeaways from the creation process he says: "Number one, don't be afraid of change. If we don't change and don't try we'll never get somewhere. There are unfortunately a lot of successful entrepreneurs that didn't get it right first but if you keep trying with the right sense of urgency and the right openness to learn and adapt I think that's the way to create the future. So interact, stay close and shape the future with us because otherwise we'll be stuck to traditional formats and we'll be old before we will try."

News of the multi-brand store concept first came in July. While this is the first multi-brand retail concept for VF, the company owns and operates more than 1,500 retail stores for its brands.