Bestseller group launches its plus-size and upmarket labels in France
In the last few years, Danish fashion group Bestseller has been quite understated in its communication. Yet, it carved out for itself a growing market share in multibrand retailers, with its huge volumes and attractive margins. Indeed, Thibaut Demange, in charge of the group's French subsidiary, confidently stated that the company posted double-digit growth in 2017, and is now the fourth player in the French wholesale channel, behind the sport/lifestyle giants.
The group's three leading brands in France are currently Jack & Jones, with 1,500 retail outlets and 35 monobrand stores, Only, with about one thousand multibrand retailers, and Vero Moda, available at 700 retailers. Above all, by segmenting the Jack & Jones range in no less than eight lines, the group is managing to appeal to a wide variety of clients.
Bestseller's plan is to keep expanding its business in France. "Our goal is to step up the pace in 2018. We are forecasting a ten million euro-plus annual growth in the next five years," said Thibaut Demange. How is Bestseller planning to increase its revenue in France by more than €50 million?
The Danish group will focus on two growth drivers. First of all, it wants to win the lion's share of the plus-size market. For the Autumn/Winter 2018/19, it is introducing a men's plus-size range for Jack & Jones. "The range has been tested on Zalando," said Demange. "We listened to the feed-back of clients and consumers, and the range will be priced slightly above the classic collection. We will be available at specialised stores, such as Size Factory, and at multibrand retailers who think they lose sales because they don’t stock products suitable to this kind of customer." About 300 stores are expected to be interested in this new line.
On the women's side, Bestseller is introducing two brands in the plus-size segment, Junarose and the more accessibly priced Only Carmakoma. They will be available at retailers which already stock the Vero Moda and Only labels, and to which Bestseller has already presented its maternity line Mamalicious, whose retail availability is planned for the Spring/Summer 2019.
The other main growth driver is something of a gamble for Bestseller, as the group is keen to introduce its mid-range labels on the French market. Three years after a first, inconclusive test, Bestseller is again attempting to launch womenswear label YAS in France for the Autumn/Winter 2018. YAS, which exhibited at the latest Who's Next trade show in Paris, is a label with a Scandinavian feel and is especially strong in sleeved items, dresses and blouses. Selected Femme has an even more chic positioning. "The label may occasionally be featured alongside Selected Homme at mixed multibrand stores," said Thibaut Demange, "but it has a contemporary positioning, with its silk dresses and cashmere sweaters. We are looking for a different kind of distribution." In their first season, Demange is planning to reach about fifty clients with YAS and about thirty with Selected Femme.
Bestseller's premium-segment strategy will reach its apex with the launch of Postyr in the Spring/Summer 2019. "The label has much more of a designer DNA," said Demange. "We are going to put it in the hands of a category specialist, and bring the group's strength to bear in the high-end segment, with a 3.5 coefficient."
Besides having strong commercial arguments, Bestseller France wants to make sure it has the resources to reach its ambitious objectives. The organisation is relatively small for the revenue it generates, and is investing in marketing activities, developing relationships with influencers to boost the new launches. Globally, the group recorded a rise in sales of more than 3% last year, reaching €3.15 billion.
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