Translated by
Nicola Mira
Nov 25, 2016
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Undiz prioritises international expansion

Translated by
Nicola Mira
Nov 25, 2016

Innovation is always the primary strategic driver for Undiz. After launching a new type of store concept, and services inspired by e-commerce, this time the Etam group underwear retail brand has adopted a ground-breaking strategic approach. Undiz is well-established in France, but only 15% of its revenue comes from exports (in Spain and Belgium). Internationalisation has, therefore, become the new priority for this retail chain, which targets a younger clientele.

A visual of the international recruitment initiative - Undiz

What is most original is the method chosen by Undiz to pursue its objective.

"How to choose a country? According to past experience, a quick market analysis, a feeling?" asked Sébastien Bismuth, the retailer's General Manager.

"Rather than deciding in this fashion about a country, without truly evaluating the affinity it has with our product range and our mission, we opted for a large-scale test," he explained.
The test comes in the shape of a talent competition organised in November by Undiz. Its aim is to unearth seven entrepreneurs capable of developing an e-store in their country with a €300,000 budget, and to advertise the launch from the brand's French headquarters. After one year, the most convincing test will be approved and its leader will be given a €1 million budget to move on to the next stage: establish brick-and-mortar shops in the market in question.
Undiz has short-listed 13 countries it is interested in, from which the seven test countries could be selected: Germany, Australia, Canada, China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, the UK, Russia, Switzerland and the USA.

Once a country will get off the ground, after a one-year test and the opening of the first physical stores, the competition will start again, with the objective of approving a new market every year. A rapid expansion pace for a retailer whose revenue reportedly exceeded €150 million in 2015, generated with approximately 150 stores, of which about 130 based in France.
"It is a strong, engaging challenge, not just a fun competition. We are looking for spirited entrepreneurs, who are well aware that their mission is to discover the next development vector for Undiz," concluded Sébastien Bismuth.
While testing its potential on new markets, the underwear retailer will not slow down its pace in France , where the objective is to make inroads with the new 'Undiz Machine' retail concept, currently operational in three cities (Toulouse, Strasbourg and Paris).

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