Another fashion company is leaving Switzerland to move to Italy
Tom Ford announced that it will close its Stabio plant in Ticino for economic reasons
A few months after Kering moved to Trecate (Novara), another well-known fashion house will transfer its logistics activities from Switzerland to Italy. In fact, Tom Ford Distribution Sagl already informed its employees about its decision to leave Stabio. Many believe that this trend will result in the emptying of the Swiss fashion valley.
Following the departure of Armani and Lgi-International, this is another bad news for the trade association Ticino Moda, which pointed out: “The sector is not undergoing a crisis” and “in the meantime, several companies are growing”, secretary Alberto Riva declared.
According to Tom Ford “the reasons for the transfer are not related to taxation”. The first reason concerns distribution timings: “All the goods manufactured in the Swiss hub were distributed in Italy, and in the past years the timings to supply outlets increased significantly. By moving to Italy, reaching shops will require 4-10 days less”.
The second reason concerns exports of luxury products: “The European Union, and Italy in our case, entered into advantageous agreements with Japan, Korea and Canada, but these agreements do not apply to goods dispatched from Switzerland”.
Finally, “the third reason that caused us to close our Stabio plant concerns the transfer of non-preferential goods, which are subject to custom duties when they are imported in Switzerland, but not when they are imported in Italy. Therefore, we had to carry out a double customs operation importing goods first in Italy, and then transferring them abroad. Without our Ticino headquarters, we will not incur expenses for the latter operation”.
According to observers, however, the main problem that caused Tom Ford to leave Switzerland is related to high taxation. In an inquiry submitted to the local Council of State, Movement for Socialism criticized the justification related to duties: “Tom Ford Distribution Sagl is a limited company in the ‘Clothes trade sector’”, not in the production sector. “Therefore, Tom Ford Distribution did not import fabrics and did not process them, rather it was a logistics and billing centre, like Armani and LGI before they left Ticino”, Deputies Matteo Pronzini, Angelica Lepori and Simona Arigoni pointed out. “Consequently, we do not understand the impact that the duties on fabrics had on these activities, also because they were abolished to increase the competitiveness of the sector. On the other hand, if – like many other enterprises – Tom Ford Distribution came to Switzerland only to transfer the profits gained in other countries to Ticino, where it enjoys tax privileges, its departure is unavoidable because, pursuant to the new international regulation, such enterprises will have to pay taxes where they create value added and yield profits”.