Essentiel turns to Asia
Essentiel is consolidating its presence in European countries such as France, Spain and the Netherlands. But, the Belgian brand will also soon test a few major export markets.
For the Spring/Summer 2017 season, Essentiel -- across both women's and men's -- has started doing business with three new partners in Russia, China and Japan.
These three major markets are slated to be approached initially through the wholesale channel. The plan is for a three-season test phase which, if successful, could result in the opening of franchised stores, the same strategy previously adopted when expanding into the Middle East and South Korea.
Essentiel could also be gaining a foothold in Scandinavia. The upmarket label will in fact exhibit at Copenhagen's Revolver trade show, hoping to establish contacts with northern European distributors.
At the same time, the Belgian label has halted its operations in the USA, where it plans to "start from scratch", and create a "higher quality" multi-brand network, according to Gérald Didnik, its commercial director since last year. The brand's desired positioning is to be the entry-level label in designer-oriented stores.
Though busy with major export markets, Essentiel is not neglecting its European business. The label founded in 1999 by Esfan Eghtessadi and Inge Onsea in Antwerp has recently opened new mono-brand stores in Spain and the Netherlands, including a flagship store in Amsterdam.
For next year, the brand is looking for another flagship store in Paris, to add to its two shops currently active in the French capital. Simultaneously, Essentiel is also seeking for a location in Bordeaux.
The aforementioned openings would add to the current French retail network, which already includes approximately 130 multi-brand shops. The brand is present at Paris department store Printemps Haussmann and will also set up shop at its competitor Galeries Lafayette in mid-November -- the result of a new policy adopted in France, where Essentiel has again started distributing directly in 2016.
For the current fiscal year, closing at the end of January 2017, the Belgian label is expecting a 12% revenue growth, reaching nearly €50 million.
Essentiel is currently operating 43 mono-brand stores and is planning on four to six new openings per year.
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