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120% Lino opens first U.S. store

Coral Gables, Fla. - 120% Lino has opened its first U.S. store here, catering to Miami's permanent and pied-à-tere residents as well as the city's heavily Hispanic tourist base.

The shop is located in Merrick Park on the first floor, steps from the mall's manicured gardens and in the milieu of Neiman Marcus, Tiffany & Co., Façonnable, Carolina Herrera, and Gucci, to name a few.

"We love Merrick Park - it's been our best decision," said Jolanda Marini, vp and the force behind the company's entry into the U.S. via Miami. "It's a sophisticated environment with an abundance of Latin American clients who love linen. [Our products] are very well appreciated by them."

Marini said the timing of the store's opening - this past October - "was also right. Two years ago it might have been a disaster. But the upscale customer is doing better now, and Merrick Park is specifically geared to that high-end Latin customer, whether they live around here or they come to Miami and bring spending money or they have an apartment here they need to furnish."

120% Lino, which is based in Milan and Capri, Italy, was founded by Alberto Peretto, the company's president, 25 years ago as a fine linens and fabrics fashion house.

About 10 years ago home linens were added to the offering through an alliance with Italian furniture designer Lanzi to complement his sofas and beds, explained Marini.

"From that initiative, we created a whole new division for bedding, bath and table linens," she continued.

While 120% Lino has sold its wares wholesale for other retailers in the U.S. in the past, the Miami store represents the company's first retail concept that is corporately owned here.

For now, the home line is strictly available in white - "it's always the chicest color in this kind of climate," Marini said.

"But because we garment dye all of our products, we can do any color in the world," she continued. "So if this concept takes off, we can add pink, light blue, gray, anything the customer wants."

In bedding, an Italian linen queen duvet cover is priced at $619, a set of two Euro shams is $339, and two pillow cases cost $$230.

The bath department comprises robes and towels. The linen kimono robe is priced at $216, the terrycloth linen robe with hood is $290, and the terrycloth linen robe sans hood is $239. The towels, all of which feature a linen border, include a bath size for $150 and a hand-and-face (wash) towel two-piece set for $110.

The table linens assortment includes a square tablecloth with six napkins for $485, a rectangular tablecloth is eight napkins for $628, four napkins for $97, two placemats with matching napkins for $163, and a runner for $154.

Customer response the the store over the past four months has been "extremely positive. But we still are known mainly as a fashion [apparel] company. So the customer is still discovering that we also carry home goods," Marini noted.

Still, business has been healthy enough to encourage 120% Lino to seek out more potential venues to open additional stores - both here and in other warm U.S. climates.

North Miami, specifically the high-end Aventura area, is on 120% Lino's schedule for a second storefront.

"Our linen products lend themselves to warmer climates, so that is where we will be looking in the U.S.," including California, Marini said. "And we want to continue with our lifestyle store concept."

120% Lino will launch a new website by early spring.

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