Intimissimi owner gears up for US scrap

European lingerie giant Calzedonia Group, which sold more than £1.6 billion worth of intimate apparel and clothing last year, is hatching a plan to take on Victoria’s Secret in its home market by launching its first US-based stores.

Sandro Veronesi, the billionaire who owns 84% of the group, revealed in a television interview with Bloomberg that it is preparing the foundations for its boldest challenge yet.

“We will start maybe from New York, which is a fashion city, and then we will expand in the major cities,” he said. “There is a dominant competitor in the United States, but that is maybe a reason why also women would like to have an alternative.”

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The Calzedonia Group sells Intimissimi branded lingerie, Calzedonia socks and Falconeri knitwear through almost 4,000 retailers, the majority of which are in European but also in Asia.

Veronesi said the US stores would open in the next couple of years and acknowledged that it may prove tricky to win over consumers in a market dominated by L Brands, owner of the Victoria’s Secret and La Senza labels.

Veronesi also used the interview to refute suggestions that the group, which is estimated to be worth £1.8 billion, would seek an IPO. He said there were “no immediate plans” for the company to go public, nor is it weighing up any possible acquisitions.

“We prefer to grow internally,” he said. “There are a lot of companies on sale in Europe in our business but at the moment the asking prices are very high.”

Earlier this month, the Calzedonia Group held its second Intimissimi on Ice event, which saw the brand unveil its latest designs on a cast of ice skaters and dancers.



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