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Italy’s luxury firms set their sights on China

Two of Italy's leading consumer brands have sets their sights on China after revealing strong first-half figures for 2015.

High-end notebook maker, Moleskine, reported a 44.7 percent increase in net income for the first half of the year, with the firm saying they'd seen a "broad based growth" across all regions and products.

While premium spirits maker, Campari, posted strong first half profits, adding it was on track to meet its full-year operating profit margin target.


China: ‘Very interesting market’ for Moleskine

For Moleskine, they plan on increasing their amount of direct stores, than just selling products through retailers. Moleskine's CEO, Arrigo Berni told CNBC that China was a "very interesting market" for the retail strategy.

"Retail is an opportunity to develop additional business, give people additional opportunities to interact with our products and brands."

"(In terms of geography,) China is a very interesting market right now for us. Most of our openings in the second semester will take place in China while we also continue to pursue opening in Europe and the U.S."

In spite of many consumers shifting to digital technologies, Berni said there was still growth in the traditional paper notebook. Moleskine's CEO however said they were "making the right move" by expanding in digital.

"It's an investment we are making into our future, but it's critical for us to do that. We're responding to a need from our consumers who live in a continuum between analogue and digital." Berni added that by providing both, they were "perfectly positioned".

Is business still fizzing for Campari in China?

With the crackdown on corruption and gift-giving in China, drink makers worldwide are trying to jump these hurdles by making their product attractive with Chinese households, while fighting the popularity of the country's strong white liquor, Baijiu.

Like many high-end drinks maker Campari is trying to take on this market, however, the company's CEO, Robert Kunze-Concewitz reassured CNBC that business in China was growing in double digits.

"If you look at the Chinese spirits markets, there's more than (1 billion and nine liter) cases – out of which only 4 million cases are actually imported spirits, so it's less than 0.5 percent. Within that context we're actually growing double digit."

"SKYY vodka is now one of the ten top imported brands into China, and within a context where most western spirits are actually declining, we are growing at a sustainable digit rate," said Kunze-Concewitz.

Campari's CEO also stressed that its growth was just as healthy elsewhere, helped by focus on its five higher-margin brands: Campari, Aperol, SKYY Vodka, Wild Turkey whiskey, Jamaican rums (inc. Appleton Estate).

"The world at large is a white space for them (five brands). We see a lot of growth opportunity, and we've already seen it in the first six months, where the five top global brands grew more than twice as fast as the rest of the company. We'll continue driving that trend."

Kunze-Concewitz emphasized that European sales were still doing "quite well" with consumption in "positive territory", however, their figure was impacted by their voluntary and proactive decision to destock the distributor in regions within Russia.  

—By CNBC's Alexandra Gibbs, follow her on Twitter @AlexGibbsy.