United Colors of Benetton

   Founded in 1965 by Luciano Benetton and his family in Veneto, Italy, the company is known for its "shock" appeal in its choice of ad campaigns as well as savvy business practices. Beginning in the early 1990s, however, the company struggled with its brand identity and began losing market share. Luciano, who was seventy-one years old in 2006, was grooming his son, Alessandro, to succeed him and is committed to creating a classic well-made line of clothing. Its European competition consists of H&M and Zara, both of which are hailed as trendy retailers. Benetton plans to again secure a strong market share in Italy, as well as China and India. In 2000, Oliviero Toscani, Benetton's creative director of eighteen years, departed the company. Toscani is credited with the company's attention-grabbing advertising campaigns. And while many believed this assisted the brand, business relationships were also severed because of them. In 1993, Sears, Roebuck and Company dropped the Benetton USA line and it was estimated that Benetton lost upwards of $100 million in sales. Fabrica, a think tank formed by Benetton and comprised of creative individuals, is now considered the key in developing a strong brand identity. The company plans extensive store rollouts in China, with the aim to have 200 stores there by the year 2008.

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. .

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