Etam focuses on lingerie to get back on growth track in China
In France, Etam has already put lingerie at the heart of its business again, and it is now keen to do the same in China. The French group knows the country very well, and is firmly established there with its ready-to-wear apparel collections. Yet, before the end of 2015, there was no Etam lingerie store in China. Then a first test shop opened in Shanghai, to be now followed by a second one, as a prelude to more store openings.
The second Etam underwear store in China opened earlier in the year, inside Shanghai's Crystal Galleria shopping mall. The store concept is French-style, very similar in terms of range and design to what Etam features in France. While the first Shanghai store had a 100 m2 retail area, the new one is much larger and is set to make more of an impression, unambiguously broadcasting the message that Etam wants to turbo-charge the expansion of its lingerie business in China.
"We are ultra-busy seeking new store locations, in Shanghai again, and also in Shenzhen, Chengdu and all major Chinese cities," said Marie Schott, the General Manager of Etam. "We are looking for locations both inside shopping malls, as for our first stores, but also on the high street," she added.
In 2017 Etam is planning a spate of lingerie store openings in China, while on the ready-to-wear side it will be trimming its sails. "The two segments are very different. We are blossoming in lingerie, while in the past we were more active in ready-to-wear apparel. It's no secret though that the latter business is struggling," admitted Marie Schott.
Last year the group began to work on repositioning the range and the retail concept, as well as on an overhaul of its store network. "We used to have a strong presence in department stores for example, and now we are leaving them in favour of shopping malls," said Schott.
As of 31st December 2016, Etam operated 2,596 stores in China, after a year marked by 281 closures. Revenue-wise, the group lost 12.3% in China, falling to €365.9 million, equivalent to a -9% in comparable retail area terms and at constant exchange rates. In Europe on the other hand, Etam is performing well, so that its global results are altogether stable.
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