Belgian label Essentiel opens first London store
Belgian label Essentiel Antwerp continues to grow internationally. The womenswear and menswear brand performed positively in 2018, and has started 2019 by putting itself firmly on the map in the UK, after opening its first monobrand store in London in mid-March.
It is the first direct retail presence in the UK for the high-end label, which already operates 55 monobrand stores worldwide, in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, China and South Korea. Essentiel was previously available in the UK via a concession at Harvey Nichols and at a series of multibrand retailers, and now it also operates a 90 m2 store in Sloane Square, at premises formerly occupied by Intropia.
The new shop is focused on Essentiel's womenswear range, which accounts for the majority of the label's sales, and will be officially inaugurated at the end of March. The UK is a priority market within Europe for Essentiel, which is already looking for a second location in the capital.
On the other side of the English Channel, Essentiel is about to add to the four monobrand stores it operates in France, by opening a first franchised store. The inauguration of the new shop, on rue Saint-Jean in the northern sea resort of Le Touquet, is planned for the end of March. For Essentiel, franchising affiliation is a solution specific for the French market, one the label is keen to extend.
Elsewhere, after opening a store in Guangzhou at the end of 2017, the label founded by Esfan Eghtessadi and Inge Onsea in 1999 is planning to open a second Chinese store in Shanghai next September, in a shopping mall that is being developed within the Bund district.
Essentiel closed the 2018-19 financial year at the end of January 2019, recording a double-digit increase in revenue, which was estimated at €57 million. Negotiations are ongoing with potential investors, which could acquire a minority stake in the Belgian label to boost its expansion.
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