| HBS Case Collection
(Revised March 2014)
Benetton Group S.p.A., 2000
In 2000, Benetton was one of the leading mass fashion competitors in the world with approximately $1.9 billion in sales across 5,500 stores in 120 countries. But the company’s fortunes seemed to be on the wane. Operating profits had fallen 9% from the prior year to $299 million. Having almost matched global leader, Gap Inc.’s revenues in 1985, Benetton was now only one seventh of Gap’s size. Moreover, Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) of Sweden had passed Benetton in 1996 and now claimed more than double the sales of Benetton. Inditex of Spain and Fast Retailing of Japan had also passed Benetton in revenues by 2000. To make things worse, Inditex and H&M had announced in 2000 that they intended to enter Italy, Benetton’s heartland.
Chairman and co-founder Luciano Benetton was determined to fight back and toward this end had just launched a major new retail strategy to expand the size of Benetton’s current stores, invest in large superstores and build greater control of the supply chain. The company also had high hopes for its new drive into sports equipment and apparel. Would this be enough to halt the rise of its mass fashion competitors?
Globalized Firms and Management;
Apparel and Accessories Industry;