Benetton became one of the world's best known clothing brands in the late 1980s, largely as a result of striking and often controversial advertising campaigns which sometimes seemed to have only minimal relevance to the stylish but generally conservative clothes they represented. Instead Benetton's advertising served principally as a platform for the worldview of Luciano Benetton, a leading member of the company's founding family which, in typically Italian style, has accumulated substantial interests in numerous sectors other than fashion. Clothing now accounts for just 10% of the family business's revenues. The Benetton fashion chain remains a significant global force, but in recent years it has lost much of its customer base, especially outside Italy, to rivals such as Zara and H&M or to mass-market acceptance of more expensive luxury brands. The chain still has around 5,000 mostly franchised stores worldwide operating under the main United Colors of Benetton brand or slightly more expensively priced Sisley. After stepping away from the business for several years, co-founder Luciano Benetton returned as executive chairman in 2018. The biggest business within family investment group Edizione - jointly owned by the four Benetton siblings and their children - is now transport infrastructure. It is the controlling shareholder in Atlantia, Italy's largest manager of toll-based autoroutes and highways, and also the operator of the main airports of Rome and Nice. The group also controls the world's biggest foodservice operator Autogrill, which runs its own or franchised restaurants in over 30 countries for brands including Burger King, Starbucks, Outback Steakhouse and Chick-Fil-A as well as airport catering for more than 100 airlines in 12 countries. Edizione's combined revenues in 2017 were €12.1bn; Benetton contributed just €1.3bn. Marco Patuano is CEO of Edizione. All this has been built on the foundations of the original Benetton business, first conceived in the 1950s by Luciano and his three siblings following the untimely death of their father. Sadly two of the four siblings - Carlo and Gilberto - died within the space of a few months of each other during 2018.
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