One is further expanding its multi-layered brand approach to the Southern luxury market hub of Atlanta, while the other is weighing the next step for a fledgling breakout high-end product line. These two approaches present interesting examples of how luxury companies handle the never ending problem of gaining market share.
Ralph Lauren recently opened a new flagship store in Atlanta, Georgia, and has projected robust sales for the location. According to Charles Fagan, RL’s executive vice president of global retail brand development, the store, equal in size to the Chevy Chase, Maryland, flagship, is expected to produce comparable sales per square foot.
Additionally, Fagan told DNR that the Atlanta location is especially chock full of elegance and glamour. The Lenox Square location will greet customers with 14,000 square feet of upscale Southern ambiance combined with the sophistication of the company’s Milan store.
Juxtaposing this high-end environment, the RRL store-within-a-store presents a more rustic general store environment, with a tin ceiling and rough hewn floors. Compared to the main store’s copious limestone and wrought-iron, this country casual atmosphere best highlights RRL’s chinos and work wear inspired clothing.
Read the full DNR article here.
In a related story, Brooks Brothers appears to be seriously considering giving the newly launched Black Fleece line its own store. No firm plans have been announced, but Brooks CEO Claudio Del Vecchio has made it very clear that he thinks the line can carry its own stand-alone stores. I wholeheartedly agree. Black Fleece, the result of a creative collaboration with designer Thom Browne intended to freshen up Brooks’ tradition-bound personality, has been a surprising success. While many longtime customers may look askance at the slim cut and slightly avant garde designs, sales have made it clear that the line is a hit in many markets – particularly Asia. The overall design and feel of of Black Fleece, along with it’s handmade quality, make it a unique and clearly identifiable brand apart from Brooks Brothers and for that matter, from Thom Browne. Browne’s contract with Brooks is for four seasons and Del Vecchio is already looking beyond the Thom Browne era, suggesting that different guest designers will be invited to regularly freshen the Black Fleece line. This strategy would give the brand something akin to a limited edition atelier feel. If successful, this approach could make Black Fleece a regular “must have” for classic dressers looking for a seasonal sartorial twist. Actual Black Fleece stores would be limited to specific global markets that have shown the most interest. All in all, I think both the success of Black Fleece and Brooks’ overall turnaround are both excellent examples of why men everywhere should say a special word of thanks to Claudio Del Vecchio. Read the full DNR article here.