"Despite the complicated situation in Spain and the fact that consumer spending is less carefree than before, we are going to forge ahead with our project. Problem is a synonym of opportunity for us". This is why Desigual closed 2010 with a turnover of 435 million euros, 44% up on the previous year. This was just one figure revealed by Manel Adell (Lic&MBA 85), CEO and Partner of Desigual, at the latest Matins ESADE session, sponsored by La Vanguardia and Ernst & Young.
Even though the Desigual CEO admitted that 2011 will be "tough", he also said that the fashion house targets a growth of over 20% this year. In keeping with this, his forecast is to open between 70 and 80 own stores before the year is out, which will entail an extra investment of 100 million euros in 2011. "We have decided to weather the storm by cutting net debt to zero", he vouched.
Adell was also optimistic about international growth and stated that the company aims to generate up to 70% of total sales outside Spain. "We will continue to manage Desigual as a brand by itself, whilst also distributing it through all the channels we possibly can", he stressed.
Growth in Asia
The company has set a goal to further growth in Europe, the US and Asia, although Adell did admit that the Asian market holds a special appeal. In fact, Desigual already operates in Tokyo and is preparing the launch of a Shanghai office late this year. What is more, Adell does not rule out opening a flagship store in China in 2012.
On this note, he expressed his firm belief that the future of the textile industry lies in Asia and that the openings or niches in this market should be tapped, even though "they are few and far between, but rich in substance", he declared.
Social media presence
Desigual has also jumped on the IT bandwagon and online sales channels are now being explored. Although the company is not a major social network player at present, Adell pointed out that "we are testing the water".
On this note, Desigual aims to commit strongly to social networking and use it as a "powerful" communication tool. "We are not diving in head first, but we have planted many seeds by means of our website, blog and Facebook", he added.
Manel Adell (Lic&MBA 85), CEO and partner of Desigual, will feature this new session of Matins ESADE.
tilted "Sailing into the Wind".
Thoughts on growth in an adverse economic climate. Desigual has tripled sales in the last two years, the worst in the European economy for decades.
Welcome and closing: Miguel Trías (MBA 89), president of ESADE Alumni
Introduction and presentation: Lluís Martínez-Ribes (Lic&MBA 76), Academic Programme Director, Executive Master's Programme in Marketing & Sales and Associate Professor of the Department of Marketing Management at ESADE
Lecture: Manel Adell (Lic&MBA 85), CEO and partner of Desigual
Manel Adell Domingo
Manel Adell Domingo, currently CEO and Partner of Desigual, graduated from ESADE and holds an MBA from IMD in Lausanne, and is also an alumnus of Stanford University, California. Born in Barcelona, he has lived in the UK, California, Switzerland, Denmark and Belgium. Since he joined the Desigual project eight years ago, first as managing director and now as CEO, the company has multiplied its business volume fifty-fold – from 8 million euros in 2002 to over 400 million in 2010 – and has gone from having 60 direct collaborators to almost 3,000 today. Manel Adell had previously co-founded the technological company Starlab, which worked on European Space Agency projects out of the Fabra Observatory in Barcelona. Adell began his career in the marketing department of Agrolimen, and then moved to Cadbury Schweppes. However, it is perhaps the experience he gained in Denmark as director of expansion at Bang & Olufsen for seven years that marked his international career. During his time at Bang & Olufsen, he flew more often than a pilot, but organising and managing a branch in Japan and another in Singapore are experiences which give a truly global vision of the world and of business.