The great ambitions of Francesca Bellettini, CEO of Saint Laurent

Bellettini has increased control over distribution, rationalized the number of wholesale doors and implemented controlled and even more selective product distribution by signing selected distribution contracts in Europe, transforming certain doors with wholesale partners into concessions. This is to ensure that the offer reflects the current vision of the brand. Likewise, all e-merchants have moved from a wholesaler model to e-concessions (with the exception of the websites of certain American department stores, where Saint Laurent is still wholesaled). “We focused even more on what we could control, staying focused on the things we could do better,” she explains.

The brand also completely stopped making public markdowns during the pandemic. Markdowns are now limited to controlled environments, which means few private sales dedicated to selected customers and outlets, what she calls a “legitimate” channel with very little customer overlap with stores. Already, as soon as Vaccarello arrived, they had made the decision to always wait a year to distinguish the current collection. “It was one more step,” she said.

Focus on local customers and comparable growth

“I am obsessed with two things: local customers and growing competition,” says Bellettini.

His obsession is paying off. About 60% of Saint Laurent customers were locals in 2020, according to Morgan Stanley estimates. This was a great strength during the pandemic, when tourism stopped. Bellettini notes that tourists and local customers buy differently: tourists are looking for a better price but know what product they want, while locals are more selective. To win over local customers, Saint Laurent has invested in the training of salespeople.

“A good sales force can make all the difference, in terms of the silhouette proposition. This is why we have invested a lot in training. Even when the stores were closed, we did a lot of online learning on how to sell the different product categories together, ”she says. “The looks Anthony does for shows are incredibly complete – jewelry, shoes, etc. Cross-selling takes more time. I am very proud because our salespeople feel that their efforts can make a difference. We are working a lot on the conversion.

Bellettini appointed Anthony Vaccarello as Creative Director in 2016.

Courtesy of Saint Laurent

Look ahead

At a time when fashion is all about body positivity, Saint Laurent put slim models on the catwalk of his recent show. This earned the brand’s reviews. Bellettini says: “The work Anthony has done in terms of diversity in age, sex, gender, color, body type, judged on a 360 basis, has been quite impressive, while still being able to communicate the brand. . If you judge everything he has done since his arrival and the inclusiveness he has expressed from the first campaigns, I hope people will be able to recognize him. Sometimes if you watch a part you lose the whole picture, ”she says.


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