A piece of Argentina has just landed in Milan. La Martina, the international sportswear brand founded in Argentina in 1985 and official supplier of technical gear for polo sport professionals and clubs, has opened its first new concept store in Milan, and its biggest European store as part of a newly started course of the brand.
The manager joined the company in September 2021, after top position experiences at Giglio Group, Italian e-commerce company, and previously at Italian Touch, multinational company in charge of e-commerce strategy for Tod's Group.
Located next door and accessible from both the store and a separate entrance, there is the restaurant bar "El Bar del Polo", as part of a deal with El Carnecero restaurant, a top-notch name for Argentinian cuisine already existing in another Milanese spot and in Ibiza.
Visible aged brick walls, wooden stairs, exclusive cuir-belt lamp systems hanging from the ceiling and iconic green elements characterising La Martina hanging systems are some of most outstanding Argentinian DNA characteristics of this this 450-sq. meter store occupying two floors.
Defining one’s own DNA
Old silver trophys, framed archive polos worn by iconic international polo teams and other memorabilia placed throughout the store testify how the brand’s past continues to live and establish a new tie with today’s consumers willing to be part of the brand’s heritage and future.
Underlining La Martina's authenticity and historic tie with polo, the store hosts an area where they sell helmets, boots and other technical gear, and a space that from now on will also be hosted in all other 100 mono brand stores already existing including London, Paris, Dubai and Johannesburg, among others.
From now on all stores will soon be restyled according to the new Milan's concept, as the others that will open soon, including four more in Italy by end 2023 and two new ones in Germany very soon.
“Each store will host a space dedicated to polo with the aim to underline how fundamental it has been and will continue to be for it,” added Santamaria underlining a series of initiatives that the brand will be involved soon. For instance, between the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023, La Martine returned sponsoring Abierto, the major worldwide polo tournament held in Buenos Ayres, and will return to sponsor other significant polo competitions.
Along with the opening of this flagship, starting from the second half of 2023, the brand will open other stores inspired by the Milanese one and will gradually restyle the existing ones according to this concept.
As part of its expansions plans, it will further expand throughout Europe, in addition to Italy and Germany, its first and second most important markets respectively, it will open a new corner in Greece, Athens a 60 sq. meter shop-in-the shop in an important local department store according to this new format.
It also expects significant results from France, Belgium, Luxembourg and The Netherlands, along with the recently reopened Romanian market, that used to perform well.
It aims to increase its presence in Spain, too, but also debut in Turkey and strengthen its presence in India where it has already opened three stores in 2022 and aims to reach a total of 15 doors including shops-in-the-shop, mono brand and direct stores by end 2023.
China is another objective. They had signed an agreement already a year ago there, but they had to stop activities because of COVID. Now they are back and started an agreement to design product according to specific needs that suit best the local consumer needs in terms of sizing.
They also expect to expand in the Emirates and start open some stores between Dubai and Kuwait by end of 2023.
What you see is less of what you get
"Our founder Lando Simonetti likes to say about the Milan flagship: ‘What you see in this store is much less of what you don’t see,” explained Santamaria referring to the significant cabling and added technology the store has been equipped with.
“Thanks to hidden cabling and specific digital services, this store will be able to be visited virtually thanks to augmented reality technology. Visitors will also be able to get connected, assist to special polo camps, or training sessions from other key locations as, for instance, our ‘Home’ store in Buenos Ayres, the first one opened about 20 years ago, but also through our store located inside the British Royal Family’s own Windsor residence,” explained Santamaria.
Along with that, retailers will also be able to benefit from the company’s increased digitalized services like, for instance, marketing material they can download for their stores and present inside their own shop, but also benefit from services like the “endless shelf” through which they can order and get delivered products constantly to their shop.
Out of the 800 multi brand stores and the 100 mono brand ones globally, almost half of the 265 Italian clients can benefit from this service and increasingly always more all other mono brand, multi brand and corners opened inside department stores.
Repositioning the product
The brand, founded in 1985 in Buenos Aires by Lando Simonetti, Italian entrepreneur who grew in Argentina, together with Gachi Ferrari, offers a collection of about 300 pieces of whose 80% is aimed at men. It includes two main collections, the Guards, inspired by the brand’s British soul as carrying the name of the Royal Family’s polo team, and a main line, focused on a premium sportswear total look whose bestseller piece is the polo shirt, a piece of clothing that the brand’s founder started sponsoring in times when it was not a widespread habit in polo events.
Completing the offer are footwear and accessories, respectively produced upon a licensing agreements by two specialised companies, Giano and Principe.