Jul 2, 2009
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Esprit shifts to selective distribution

Jul 2, 2009

The German ready-to-wear clothing and accessories group Esprit is getting ready to shift to selective distribution. It was announced on 25 June by Henning Gerbaulet, manager of wholesale sales for Esprit Europe, during the press conference regarding the establishment of partnerships for selective distribution with immediate effect. The objective: to strengthen the status of the brand to protect its image. This strategy will only affect the 27 countries in Europe and will not rolled out across Asia nor America.


Esprit described the new selective distribution model as “win/win”. “To sell its products exclusively across a network of authorized retailers will produce a certain number of advantages in the long term for distributing partners as well as the brand itself.” The group hopes mainly to improve the quality of distribution and to more effectively protect the label, also giving it better visibility.

According to Henning Gerbaulet, this strategy should not cause big changes: “we are simply putting things together, in a legal framework”, he said.

To put this new strategy into place the group has established a set of criteria for the selection of commercial partners; criteria based on each retail format (partner stores, department store boutiques and multibrand stores) which can be adapted to the specifics of each European country. This legal charter will also be used for online sales.

Additionally, the group wants to maintain its existent partnerships, taking these new legal conditions into account. Therefore, partners who currently only satisfy part of the required criteria will have 24 months to meet the conditions for a selective partnership. Esprit has not indicated the number of partners that have already signed the charter, nor the amount of investment that it represents (or could represent if it fails), preferring to say that “it is more a human investment”.

The group further explained that this maneuver is above all “a return to the values and to the DNA of the brand”, though it should not be forgotten that with the backdrop of a recession, resorting to selective distribution is a way of centering the company and giving existing relations a privileged status.

By Jonathan Fulwell (Source: Sarah Ahssen)

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