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LONDON — Santoni, the Italian brand known for high-quality leather shoes, on Thursday officially unveiled its first boutique in the U.K., located on the second floor of Harrods.

The 614-square-foot space is dedicated to the brand’s men’s offering. The shoes are displayed against wood-paneled walls decorated with a Tangram geometric pattern, or placed on rectangular counters next to orange velvet squared ottomans.

On top of a full selection of seasonal and signature styles, the location also offers bespoke services to Harrods’ discerning customers to build their dream shoes.

Giuseppe Santoni, chairman and executive president of Santoni, said the alignment with Harrods represents “another achievement for the maison, as well as a significant confirmation of its recognition and prestige abroad, in a country that has always been responsive to new trends and boasts a unique manufacturing tradition skillfully celebrated.”

He revealed that the brand was able to be offered the space because it has been a consistent top performer in the multibrand area.

“Thanks to my hard-working people here, we went up in the ranking. They are happy to give us the possibility to show the entire collection with a full image of Santoni. I think this is very important to have something that represents the brand in a better way and we’re very happy about the space in general, but also the fact that we can really express ourselves in a proper way,” he added.

Given the importance of the U.K. market in terms of tourist spending and brand awareness, Santoni confirmed that the brand is looking for opportunities in key areas like New Bond Street, Sloane Street, the City of London, and Selfridges.

While the absence of duty-free shopping in the U.K. remains a concern, and Brexit added more complications around shipping and merchandising, Santoni believes what matters is that “the Harrods consumers would appreciate Santoni and come back, which for us is the most important thing.”

He touted that the Harrods location is the beginning of the brand’s ambition for global expansion, as the brand has seen more than 20 percent annual growth since it came out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The brand currently has about 1,000 points of sale and operates 28 stand-alone stores worldwide. Santoni counts the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East as its biggest markets.

Santoni noted that Dubai has become the “Las Vegas” of the Middle East, attracting high flyers from around the world. “When I was around 15 to 20, Las Vegas was the place where everything happened. Now Dubai is that place. Everything is happening in Dubai. It is a cool place,” he added.

Santoni is also going to be part of Saudi Arabia’s Neom project, a new destination envisioned by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that is being created on the kingdom’s Red Sea coast with trade ports, luxury resorts, research centers, sports and entertainment venues, and tourist attractions.

“We are going to open our first mono-brand store in April on the island, and open five more on the island in the future,” he said.

With regards to China, the world’s biggest luxury market, Santoni believes that the sky is the limit. The brand has launched on Tmall and WeChat and runs a store at the duty-free shopping island Hainan and another one in Hong Kong’s K11 mall.

Giuseppe Santoni

“We see that what they appreciate the most is brands that have big logos, which is not us. But I also see that consumers are evolving a lot. They’re getting more sophisticated and they are looking at the product from the quality point of view. This is very good news for us,” noted Santoni.

“For most luxury brands, China grows between 50 and 60 percent, and for us right now China is just 2 percent [of our business]. So we can easily double our turnover just entering the Chinese market. We are starting to grow our ladies’ collection as well. It is about 40 percent of our business and we see huge potential.

“We like to say that we create objects of desire for our consumers and that our shoes are very intelligent. When I say intelligent, it means that our shoes have the right balance between design and contemporariness, and are produced with a sustainable process by people who know how to make it. We only produce shoes in-house, meaning all are produced in the Santoni factories by the Santoni artisans, who have been trained for years to make the shoes,” he added.