The Natuzzi group and the Bari -Matera (Italy) upholstered furniture district: a case study of internationalisation in a traditional industry
The case-study focuses on the strategies adopted by the Natuzzi Group, world leader of the upholstered furniture sector, located in the Bari-Matera district (Southern Italy), to face increasing global competition and on their effects. In particular we consider the modes and determinants of productive internationalisation, carried out since 2000 by Natuzzi in China, Brazil and Romania to produce middle-low end products. By improving the competitiveness of the price-sensitive segment, the strategy contributed to the successful expansion of the Group until 2002. However, high range products, manufactured in Italy, record decreasing sales especially on the US market, despite the company’s efforts in R&D and marketing and its investments in information technology. Moreover, due to Natuzzi’s considerable weight in the district, the Group’s performance impacts on the network of subcontracting firms, where a restructuring process is underway, raising questions about the evolution of the district.
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