Today the Benetton Group is present in 120 countries around the world. Its core business is clothing: a group with a strong Italian character whose style, design expertise and passion are clearly seen in the United Colors of Benetton and the more fashion-oriented Sisley brands, and in sportswear brands Playlife and Killer Loop. The Group produces over 110 million garments every year, over 90% in Europe. Key Dates:
•1955: Giuliana and Luciano Benetton buy their first knitting machine and begin selling Giuliana's woolen sweaters. •1965: The Benetton family forms a partnership, Maglificio di Ponzano Veneto dei Fratelli Benetton. •1972: The company introduces a new dyeing technique that enables on-demand production. •1978: The company incorporates as a limited liability company, Invep S.p.A. •1979: The company begins international expansion with its first stores in North America and Europe. •1983: The company builds a state-of-the-art warehouse.
•1985: The company is renamed as Benetton S.p.A.
•1986: Benetton is listed on the Borsa Italiana.
•1989: The Benetton family acquires Nordica as the first part of its entry into the sporting goods sector under Benetton Sportsystem; the company's first controversial United Colors of Benetton advertising campaign is launched. •1993: The company opens a state-of-the-art production facility in Castrette, Italy. •1997: Benetton buys the money-losing Benetton Sportsystem. •2001: The company begins selling off its sporting goods holdings; the Sisley youth-oriented brand is launched. •2003: The company completes the sell-off of sporting goods divisions; the company announces a $526 million spending effort to produce higher-quality goods and adds accessories, cosmetics, and home furnishings under the Benetton brand. Incorporated: 1965 as Maglificio di Ponzano Veneto dei Fratelli Benetton NAIC: 315999 Other Apparel Accessories and Other Apparel Manufacturing; 315191 Outerwear Knitting Mills; 315228 Men's and Boys' Cut and Sew Other Outerwear Manufacturing; 339920 Sporting and Athletic Good Manufacturing; 423910 Sporting and Recreational Goods and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers; 424320 Men's and Boys' Clothing and Furnishings Merchant Wholesalers; 448140 Family Clothing Stores Benetton Group S.p.A. has toned down its controversial advertising campaigns as it seeks to restore its momentum in the 2000s. Formerly one of the world's fastest-growing fashion chains, Benetton is now playing catch-up to H&M, Zara, The Gap, and others that emerged as challengers during the late 1990s. Nonetheless, Benetton remains one of the world's largest and most well-known clothing empires, operating more than 5,000 stores in 120 countries. Benetton markets its clothing under several brand names, including flagship brand United Colors of Benetton. The company has struck back at its edgier competitors with the launch of the fashion-oriented Sisley brand, and has entered the sportswear sector with Playlife, launched in 1998. In 2003, Benetton completed its exit from an ill-fated diversification into the sporting goods sector. The Benetton family also has stepped back from active management of the company, turning over its operations to CEO Silvano Cassano, appointed in 2003. Luciano and Giuliana Benetton, the founders of the Benetton Group, came from humble origins. The Benetton family grew up poor; their father, who owned a car and bicycle rental business, died while they were children. But Giuliana Benetton developed a skill that would make her family rich. At age five, she fell in love with knitting. In her early teens, Giuliana worked during the day in a tiny knitting business, producing scratchy, somber-colored woolen sweaters. At night, she used a borrowed knitting machine to make her own brightly colored designs. Her brother Luciano, who was then 20 and had worked as a men's clothing salesman in Treviso, realized his...