“The time has come to show the London public who we are,” said Gianluca Brozzetti, chief executive of A&G Group, parent of the Asprey and Garrard brands, during a walk-through of the 40,000-square-foot store Friday morning.
“This is a very ambitious project: We are now Europe’s largest luxury goods store, and we’re not competing with department stores or fashion houses. We’re offering the best of everything — and competing with companies such as Cartier and Bulgari.”
The flagship opened last week after two years of building work and an investment of more than $50 million. The opening was postponed from last November because of complications with British building laws.
But even though this is a big moment for Brozzetti, a luxury goods veteran, there’s no question that his view of the future is a cautious one.
Brozzetti said historical sales highs for the original Asprey store, which was built on the same site in 1847, were $60 million to $70 million, although he acknowledged it’s going to take time for the company to scale those heights again.
“We have to be very realistic,” he said. “We are post-Sept. 11 , we are rebuilding the history of this house and, while we want this to be one of the most productive luxury stores in Europe, luxury needs time and we need time. One day we’ll get back to the historical sales level. Our shareholders know that, and they are here for the long run.”
Morgan Stanley Capital Partners took a 20 percent stake in A&G Group in February, joining Lawrence Stroll, Silas Chou, Edgar Bronfman Jr. and the Luxembourg-based TAG Group, a holding company and the former owner of TAG Heuer watches, as shareholders.
While Brozzetti declined to give any sales projections for the new store, he acknowledged the temporary Asprey unit — a 6,000-square-foot location up the street — was already outselling the 20,000-square-foot Asprey flagship in New York that opened last November and cost another $50 million.