Christophe Chenut: "2012 will be the year of women's wear for Lacoste"
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Lacoste’s partnership with Roland Garros, Christophe Chenut, CEO of Lacoste SA, gave FashionMag an insight into the famous crocodile brand. The group, which has 35% of its shares controlled by its partner Devanlay, has been expanding Lacoste’s product offering over the last few years. In fact, clothing sales have gone from representing 80 to 60% of the total in the space of 12 years.
FashionMag: What does Roland Garros symbolise for Lacoste?
Christophe Chenut: Roland Garros is on its own the symbol of all our history. The stadium was built for The Four Musketeers (four iconic French tennis players), one of whom was René Lacoste. It also represents the stylistic history, showing the elegance of the tournament and of spectators and the sophisticated atmosphere in general. In Roland Garros, one can see the evolution of the crocodile, from sport to lifestyle, from the players to the public.
FashionMag: And people can discover the Lacoste universe in the brand’s flagship store on the Champs Elysées Avenue. Where else do you plan to open other flagship strores?
Christophe Chenut: We have just launched our Hambourg flagship on May 12th, which covers a total retail area of around 500 square metres. The one in New York will open in September during the city’s fashion week. But we are still looking for more locations in Asia, such as Shanghai or Hong Kong.
FashionMag: In terms of flagship stores, Lacoste has taken its time compared to other brands. What is the reason for that?
Christophe Chenut: It is all a question of history. It is only over the last few years that the brand Lacoste has been expanding its textiles department and its universe in general, with the addition of shoes, leather goods, fragrances and eyewear. At the beginning, our boutiques were small and concentrated mostly on polo shirts.
FashionMag: Will there be other flagships in France?
Christophe Chenut : We are looking into opening boutiques in the 16th district near Porte Maillot, but with surface areas of around 250 to 300 square metres. The larger flagships will open in the world’s major cities, as only around 9% of Lacoste’s sales come from France.
FashionMag : What about stores for the Lacoste L!ve line and for children’s wear?
Christophe Chenut : The idea of L!ve is also to transform the non-specialised boutiques located in trendy areas such as the Marais in Paris. We have already opened L!ve stores in London, Berlin, New York and our goal is to soon build a network between 80 to 100 units. These boutiques will also help us encourage department stores to integrate our brand in the younger environment as well as the denim world, a bit like Bread & Butter. This is important because department stores allow us to also be present in the provinces. The same goes to our Parisian children’s wear store on Vavin street which works as a medium.
FashionMag: As for your product offering, are there new licence agreements still planned for the future?
Christophe Chenut : From an effective point of view, the licences we have signed with Cemalac (subsidiary of Devanlay) for leather goods and with Marchon for eyewear, both kicked off in January. We have also just launched our fantasy jewellery line. Now, our objective is to enlarge the brand’s clothing range and to make it more feminine. 2012 is going to be the year of women’s wear for Lacoste, with the first line designed by Felipe Oliviera Baptista. But our women’s collections are a lot more challenging. In reality, women make up 80% of our clients, since it is them who often shop for clothes for their partners or children. However, sales from our women’s sector only actually make up 20% of the total. By 2012, this should have already increased to 25%.
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