Italian cashmere maker Cruciani poised for growth

MILAN (AP) — Italian cashmere maker Cruciani survived the economic crisis by focusing on clover-shaped lace macrame bracelets that became a global hit, and now it plans to grow by expanding its accessories line launched in 2013.

Cruciani CEO Luca Caprai says the challenge is to avoid being a one-hit wonder. He is investing millions to build up the original Cruciani cashmere brand and the younger Cruciani C accessories line, which includes the 10-euro ($14) bracelets launched in 2011 and now worn by such stars as Beyonce and Heidi Klum.

"The risk was that the bracelet could have been just a one-summer success," he says. Caprai told journalists on the sidelines of Milan Fashion Week Friday that he aims to grow revenue to 193 million euros by 2018 from an estimated 41.9 million euros at end-March. He would like to see 40 percent of sales come from accessories in four years' time.

The privately held, family-owned company plans to open 450 new stories by March 2018, including 40 in the United States by spring 2015. He says he has no plans for a stock market listing. Bracelets are selling at a clip of one million per month, and will continue to be a focus, adapting to local themes like the World Cup in Brazil and China's mid-September Harvest Moon holiday.

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