From Swiss Post tp Sweidsh retail

26 August/27 August 2017 | FT | Tyler Brule

Q: I know you're a fan of Italy, so what do you think will happen to Alitalia [that went into administration in May]? Or do you even care?

A: First, I care very much about Alitalia. It's not that I fly with it that often - the last time was Rome to Toronto last year, and it was surprisingly good. I think a country such as Italy needs a flag-carrier, but there needs to be proper stewardship. My hope is that the winning bidder (top of my list would be Lufthansa) can put the carrier on the right course - trimming all the fat, cutting routes that the airline doesn't need and giving the whole operation a bit of the Germanic discipline that's been missing. Italians know how to run amazing hotels, bars and restaurants, and understand premium design and fashion. The airline needs a different mindset to operate complex logistics structures and deliver tight, focused brands.

Q: Do you have a view on hats and sun? I'm heading to the Med with my wife and she's saying no to my baseball cap.

A: I'm on the same page as your wife. A hat is essential for the sun, and a baseball cap isn't right for both sartorial and air-flow reasons. While I haven't seen the rest of your coastal get-up, I'd invest in something woven with a mid-size brim from the likes of Grevi or Viennese brand Muhlbauer.

Q: Swedish brand H&M is rolling out its new Arket brand, which sounds a bit like a mini department store. Do you think this is yet another nail in the coffin of the good old local shopping street?

A: I'm rather excited about the arrival of something fresh that's going to shake up the market a little. First, the bigger issue is keeping neighbourhoods and shopping districts alive with stores, cafes, galleries and restaurants that drive traffic. If it happens to be a small whisky bar operated by some college friends that increases footfall down the street, then brilliant. At the same time, if it's a rethink on homewares, fashion and other daily essentials from a big Swedish retailer, that's fine too. Most department stores have become lazy and forgotten who they're serving. A smaller, more agile format that can work well in city centres and not just in malls sounds like it might be a good tonic for under-performing high streets.

last updated november 2017