French lingerie label Valège enters German market
French lingerie label Valège has set itself the symbolic target of growing the number of stores it operates to 100 in 2023. To reach this milestone, Valège, founded by the Perez family in 1989, is focusing on expanding its French retail presence, and on breaking into a new market, Germany. Valège is an entry-to-mid-level label that currently operates nearly 90 stores. It features a sexy design style and a broad range of sizes, with bras up to G-cup size.
In 2022, Valège opened a dozen new stores in France (for example in Saint Dizier, Evreux and Beauvais), both directly operated and franchised ones, in some cases picking premises with a larger sales area, up to 190 square metres in some locations. Managing director Laurence Perez believes that this allows Valège to “better express itself, deploying more flowery, colourful concepts, with vibrant zones dedicated to social media.”
Valège is based in Aubervilliers, and took advantage of the bankruptcy of various French fashion chains to buy their stores, as well as hiring the staff working in them. This was the case with two Camaïeu stores, which became Valège stores two months ago. Perez is planning a dozen new openings in 2023, and said she is currently interested in other stores belonging to struggling retail chains. In 2021, Valège took over five stores operated by La Compagnie des Petits.
The label is present in France and in the Middle East (the UAE and Qatar), and first entered the German market in June 2022, opening a 130-square-metre store, run as a subsidiary, inside Berlin’s Alexa metropolitan shopping mall. A second unit will open in three weeks inside the Gropius shopping mall. “If these two stores work, we’ll continue to expand in Germany, and then enter another European country,” said Perez, who described customers in Germany as “more individualistic” than in France, where consumers are accustomed to asking for advice when buying underwear.
Product-wise, Valège’s Spring/Summer 2023 collection is extremely colourful (the palette includes fuchsia, green and ocean blue) and features additional products that complement classic lingerie, such as kimonos, nightdresses and suspenders. A Valège bra and panties combo is priced on average at €40, and the models are manufactured in Asia.
The company has 200 employees and did not disclose its revenue figures, but said that comparable sales grew by 11% in 2022, while total sales (including those from new stores) rose by approximately 30% in the course of year. A performance that slowed down somewhat after a tough first half of March, when Perez said that the impact of France’s social unrest made itself felt.
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