Geox’s chairman and founder is focused on restoring the business’s profitability after returning to pre-pandemic billing figures.
Geox Coming from Jio Land in GreekFurther X, for technology. And these are both guiding concepts Mario Moretti Polegato (Treviso, 1952) since he founded the well-known shoe brand in 1995. Head of footwear companies. He came up with the idea to invent a “breathable shoe” during a long hike through the Nevada desert in the early 90s. He firmly believes that no competitor can offer the technological advancements of his garments.
Despite the global phenomenon that the company’s launch represents, one should never shy away from reality. “More than money and success, my ambition in life is to transmit enthusiasm to the youth.” says the manager in an interview with EXPANSIÓN.
Geox, Like many fashion companies, it was hit hard International distribution of the corona virus. The group initiated a major action plan to deal with the decline in sales, including a perimeter adjustment of the store network and a deep redesign of the management team that now includes “front line” profiles. style”.
“We’ve had lost billings and returns in these two years We are already very close to the 2019 figures. The next step, apart from continued growth, is to restore profitability, because during this period we had to invest in investment, investment and sales recovery,” he explains.
In the first half of the year, the group is Its revenue grew by nearly 4%, up to 354 million euros, raising EBITDA to 40 million, up 58%. While Geox is committed to an omnichannel strategy, its network of stores, its online business and its wholesale business feed into each other, the fact that e-commerce has played a fundamental role in the group’s recovery.
Los Selling on the Internet They represent a third of the total, one of the highest in the industry. “To deal with the blow of the epidemic, we have made a very strong investment in electronic commerce, which today accounts for 30% of our turnover. We are one of the largest companies with the highest online revenue and consumers have all the alternatives available at your fingertips”.
The goal has already been achieved and Moretti Polegato Don’t want to gain weight online. “The purpose of the company Maintain weight online At current levels and consistent retail, wholesale and online sales, Geox organizes the product across all channels. “We don’t want our channels to compete with each other, but rather to make everything available to the end consumer.”
The businessman is “confident” that the company will achieve the objectives of its strategic plan and emphasizes that the combination of fashion, Italian style and technology sets Geox apart from its competitors.
“In shoe manufacturing, that should not be forgotten. Italy is a highly praised country All over the world. We have created a unique product by mixing Italian style with Italians and technology, which has led to the creation of a large company currently in a hundred countries, with a network of 750 stores, which, despite the current crisis, continues to grow. He says.
“If you’re going to buy a moccasin there are a thousand brands, but if you want a breathable moccasin, you have to come to Geox. We understand this, and for this reason, we invest 2% of our turnover in research and development (R&D) “, added Moretti PolegatoExplains that the company has 15 engineers in their labs.
I asked for a sample InditexThe CEO of Geox recognizes that “They are very good”. “They manage to compete in the market, but not in the technology segment, but in the fashion segment we are different,” says the businessman. “Our customer is a very gentle person who wants a breathable shoe, a waterproof shoe or a breathable jacket.”
In this sense, Moretti Polegato In the business of fashion, more than just shoes, it dictates going beyond its essence. “We were born into the world of shoes We entered the jackets and coats section, but we stopped there. We don’t want to go for a gross look. However, we are betting on accessories,” admits the manager, referring to the leather bags and belts the company sells.
As for the future, the founder Geox Recognizes the existence of two markets, America and China, where they “need to invest more.” “We are in both, but we are very small. It’s not that the product doesn’t work, but we need to invest to connect with the end consumer through advertising, technology, specific collections, etc. A Chinese person’s foot. Different from us.”
Currently, 30% of turnover Geox Comes from Italy, 40% from other parts of Europe. Spain It is one of its four major markets and is among the country’s major distribution platforms, including English Court. He sells his products on Aha, along with a line he launched with the actress Penelope Cruz, They want to promote women’s division.
“The wine business taught me to keep your feet on the ground”
Mario Moretti Polegado’s family has owned, for three generations, one of the world’s leading Prosecco wines: Villa Santi. Before founding Geox in 1995, the manager was dedicated to the family business and explains that one of the key lessons this experience taught him was “the need to keep his feet on the ground”.
“My family makes wines. I studied agriculture, but I work in the fashion and footwear industry. Fortunately, I always keep in mind the lesson I learned working in wine, which is very simple: always keep my feet on the ground. “There are always ups and downs in the market, but you detach yourself from reality. Don’t get carried away,” underlines the head of Geox.
The Moretti Polegado family’s Villa Santi is a stately Palladian villa in the heart of the Prosecco region of Veneto, Italy, dating back to 1622. The villa reflects the confluence of art and architecture that has manifested itself in the Venetian landscape over the centuries. Surrounded by the hills of Marca Trevigiana, it is also the main headquarters of the wineries.
In the early 90s, Moretti Polegato drifted away from the world of wine when, after participating in a wine fair near Las Vegas, he decided to stay a few days longer on vacation.
In those days, Moretti went for a walk in the Polegato desert, the excessive heat of the asphalt heated his feet, so he decided to pierce the rubber soles of his sneakers with a knife, and from there came the idea of inventing Geox. .
At first, the executive tried to sell the idea to the major shoe manufacturers of the time, but they didn’t understand him, and he developed the plan.
“AI Can’t Replace Humans”
Mario Moretti Polegato, chairman and founder of the shoe company Geox, is well aware of the technological breakthrough that artificial intelligence represents today, although he believes it will never replace humans due to his lack of creativity.
“Artificial intelligence is scary because there are those who think it will replace humans, but this will never happen, because creativity is the difference between a machine and a human,” comments the Italian executive. “Artificial intelligence will increase creativity and help create more, but always human-based. The important thing is that with creativity, a culture of ethics is encouraged, so that man always creates products to live better,” says the president of Geox.