The Art Company and El Naturalista will come out with their first lines of shoes for children between the ages of 3 and 11, starting with the autumn/winter 2010/11 season. The new lines were shown at the Pitti Bimbo and Mess Around fairs in Florence and Paris last month, and will be presented again at Micam and the GDS in March.
Divided into five families, each collection will have about 25 models. Depending on the reaction of the market, they may be more in the future. Made at the common factory run by the two brands at Quel, in the La Rioja region of Spain, the two new lines will have the same general spirit of the adult collections ? urban and fashionable for Art, and nature-inspired for El Naturalista ? but they will feature original designs. All the models will be respectful of the environment.
It has taken one and a half years to implement this new project. The Art Company, which owns the Art and Neosens brands, remains separate from the company that markets El Naturalista. They have the same shareholders, however, and these have created a new company, called Life Concept, that will manage the children's lines as a stand-alone business unit coordinated by Angel Perez, who has been working for the group for several years. He has set up a network of agents covering at least 12 countries for the first season, and some of them are specialized in the children's footwear segment.
There are no plans to put out a children's line under the group's Neosens brand name. This young fashion brand will have a new visual identity. The image will be clearer and more fashion-oriented. Together, Art and Neosens should post a sales increase of 4.2 percent this year, in spite of the poor economy, with growth in Germany, France and Spain more than offsetting a decrease in Eastern Europe. Company officials are targeting a sales increase of 5 percent for 2010.
El Naturalista enjoyed a major recovery this year, posting a sales increase of about 17 percent. Sales grew mostly everywhere except in the U.K. and the U.S., where they were affected by the currency situation. The brand entered two new markets: Hungary and Croatia.