P448, an Italian brand of unconventional and comfortable sneakers whose ownership changed last summer, posted a 36 percent increase in sales in 2018 to €8.2 million from €5.7 million the previous year and is targeting revenues of €50 million by 2022. One of the investors in the brand is Wayne Kulkin, the former chief executive of Stuart Weitzman.
Boasting a combination of luxury and comfort at affordable prices, P448 offers men's and women's footwear as well as a collection for kids. The shoes, which have unusual color combinations, use exclusive patterns and quality materials. They are entirely made in Italy and retail at €180 to €300 a pair. The latest collection was shown at the Pitti Uomo men's trade show in Florence a few days ago.
P448 is currently available at 800 points of sale on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. It achieves 34 percent of its turnover in Italy, while the rest of Europe represents a third of revenues and the U.S. the remaining third.
It is sold in leading European and American departments stores and has Nordstrom in the U.S. as its main client. This year it will be opening pop-up stores at the British and Italian department stores of Selfridges and Rinascente.
The brand was launched in 2014, starting with the Italian market and then expanding through Continental Europe. In 2017, it entered the U.S. and British markets and last year started covering Canada, Mexico, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Turkey as well.
P448 already has its own web store. It plans to open its first mono-brand stores this year, offering a special customer experience and commencing with the U.S. targeting cities such as Miami, Los Angeles and New York, followed by China and Hong Kong. The brand is aiming to open mono-brand stores in Italy and other parts of Europe from 2020. In the meantime, it opened a showroom in Milan in the autumn, located in the renowned Palazzo Serbelloni. It previously set up a showroom in New York.
P448 was created by Marco Simone and Andrea Curtis, but last year they sold the company that controls the brand, Nothanks, keeping a combined 35 percent stake and remaining as co-creative and design directors.
The balance of the shares in Nothanks were taken over by two other investors through a joint venture deal. A Milan-based private equity firm, Panda, acquired a 35 percent stake, and a U.S. brand portfolio holding company, StreetTrend, took 30 percent.
Panda is managed by Paolo Griffo, who became chief executive of P448. Panda has investments in various companies including an Italian shoemaker, Velasca; a producer of cycling apparel, La Passione; and an apparel retailer, Terranova.
StreetTrend was created by Wayne Kulkin and Jeffrey Hecktman. Kulkin is a veteran of the footwear industry who worked in different capacities at Stuart Weitzman for over 26 years, including in the role of chief executive for the last five. Kulkin, who was appointed non-executive chairman of P448, also ran recently the U.S. subsidiary of Arezzo, the big Brazilian shoe producer and retailer that owns the Schutz brand of shoes.
Hecktman is the chairman and CEO of a global investment and financial services company, Hilco Global, which has holdings in several retail and fashion brands.
StreetTrend, which also designs, distributes and sells several other footwear brands including PS861 and Meline, in 2017 became the exclusive distributor of P448 in North America, the U.K., Hong Kong and China. The company decided to invest in the brand after its sales in the U.S. exceeded expectations.