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Rich And Richer: Bulgari CEO Sees U.S. Expansion

Luxury Italian jeweler Bulgari sees the U.S. as a "very interesting opportunity" and is clearly trying to cash in on the enormous wealth being generated by the private equity and hedge fund set.

In an interview with Margaret Brennan, Bulgari CEO Francesco Trapani acknowledged the importance of the two groups as new customers.

Bulgari, which recently refurbished its flagship U.S. store in New York City, says it is the "right timing" to expand in the U.S., having watched competitors successfully do so in recent years. The U.S. market is all the more important, as Japan, the world's largest luxury market, is "stagnating", says Trapani.

Bulgari has earmarked $100 million euro, or about $136 million dollars at current exchange rates, for capital spending in 2007, up from 60 million euros, or about $82 million, from the previous year.

Like many other players in the market, Bulgari is expanding its offering. This year it will roll out a skin care business in Italy, which it will bring to the U.S. in 2008 or 2009. It also recently opened hotels. Accessories now account for 10% of sales.

Trapani says "we want to be more interesting" at the point of sale.

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