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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gucci Unveils City Boutique

Just when it looked as if Russia's fashion elite couldn't fit another logo on its collective rump, Italian powerhouse Gucci rolled its double G's into town for the grand opening of its new boutique on Kutuzovsky Prospekt.

The boutique, curiously, has been working since August. Perhaps to stir up excitement before the holiday selling season, Gucci president and chairman Domenico De Sole flew in from New York on Wednesday to hold a news conference and a grand opening reception at the two-story boutique owned by Russian retailing magnate Mercury.

Looking tan, rested and ready, De Sole said he hoped Russia would become an integral part of the company's European expansion plans. Gucci derives 42 percent of its sales from Asia and 30 percent from the United States and is now angling to perk up sales in its own backyard.

"We are delighted to be in Russia. We view Russia as a very important trading area for us," De Sole said. "We are off to a wonderful start -- so far performance has gone beyond our expectations."

The spare, black-and-white boutique replicates Gucci's look in other countries, De Sole said.

The store by year's end should sell about $2 million in merchandise, said Alla Verber, commercial director of Moscow Trading House shopping complex run by Mercury, which manages the Gucci store. Next year's sales are expected to hit $5 million to $6 million.

A bevy of young, mostly female journalists packed the news conference to question De Sole. In a particularly leading question, a reporter asked what he thought of Russian women.

What could a fashion mogul, nay, an Italian fashion mogul say? "Based on my initial experience, I think they are very beautiful."