House of Art plans to expand to Central and Eastern Europe

House of Art, the largest Romanian clothing chain, plans to expand its business to Central and Eastern European countries.
Olivera Mihet, founder and commercial manager of the store chain House of Art, stressed that the first new market on the list is the Republic of Moldova. A House of Art store will be opened in the autumn in Shopping Moldova, in Chisinau, on a surface of almost 500 square meters, based on an investment of some 100,000 euros.
„It will be the first in a dozen store chain we intend to open there in the upcoming period”, announced Olivera Mihet.
In parallel, the company continues its aggressive expansion policy of the House of Art chain in Romania, as well.
Staff Collection – a family business the founder started with her twin sister Daniela Ciucilovici Berciu – is targeting in the following four months of this year the opening of three more stores in Pitesti (south, Trivale Store), Tulcea (south-east, Coral Plaza) and Turda (center, Retail Park), alongside the 60 already held.
As a result of the retail chain expansion the company business is expected to rise up to 28 million euros this year. Chain sales forecast are according to graphic, say the company officials, Staff Collection reporting sales of 13 million euros in the first half of 2008. Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) data show that, in 2007, Staff Collection posted a net profit of almost one million euros, namely 5% of the overall last year revenues.

Whereas the majority of Romanian clothing companies mainly work for western brands, Staff Collection is doing exactly the opposite: it is hiring other factories in Asia and Europe to fulfill its orders. The value of production contracts with foreign companies is dissimilar from one season to another.
„We contracted orders of 500,000 euros, but also had contracts in the value of two million euros. We manufacture abroad certain product groups. In general, we manufacture basic products”, stressed Mihet.
Staff Collection company was set up in 1994. The twins have opened three years ago their first company, Flagrance, with the activity objects clothing production and retail, as well.
House of Art is now the largest Romanian store chain. Staff Collection shareholders are also involved in the development of other store brands. It is the case of Fox, which addresses to the young segment of the market, administered through Corssa Co. Through Corssa Mihet family also holds a 31-store chain opened under the retail brand Fox, a chain of 24 Levi’s stores, 2 cosmetics stores Laline and one store each for the brands Fornarina, Docker’s and Playboy.
According to data reported to MEF, last year, Corssa generated business of 9.3 million euros, deriving a net profit of 1.4 million euros, accounting for 15% of the turnover.
Overall, production and retail, the two companies Staff Collection and Corssa have some 3,000 employees, of whom 1,200 for Staff Collection.
2007 meant for Staff Collection a turnover of 21.6 million euros and a net profit of some one million euros. For this year, the estimations refer to a rise of 25%.
The company has three factories, in Alba Iulia, Cugir and Blaj (center), plus a mini-production section in Bucharest. The 1,000 production employees make each month some 200,000 clothing articles under the House of Art brand.
At present, the company has 60 own stores under the House of Art brand, to which a chain of ten franchised stores is added.

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