After Berlin, Hamburg, and Frankfurt am Main, Sandro has recently opened up its fourth standalone store in Germany. The new Sandro boutique in Munich’s Theatinerstraße stretches across 162 sq. meters, presenting the French brand’s complete women’s, men’s and accessory lines, head designed by company founder Evelyne Chetrite and her son Ilan. In context of the Munich opening, we spoke to Sandro’s CEO Jean-Philippe Hecquet, who held positions at TAG Heuer and Louis Vuitton North America before joining Sandro’s parent company SMCP (Sandro, Maje, Claudie Pierlot) in August 2014, where he has led the global expansion of the brand ever since.
Congratulations on your new store. Why did you choose Munich as the next stop of your (German) retail expansion?
Germany is a very dynamic market for Sandro. Munich is one of the key cities in Germany and in Europe, so it was obvious for us to offer a space to our customers which allows Sandro to fully express its universe. We were already present in Munich but without an own Sandro store. We were just waiting for the right location and we are glad to have found it on Theatinerstrasse.
Which further expansion moves have you planned and which markets are you seeing the greatest potential in for Sandro generally?
In 2017, we have opened flagships in key cities, for example in Barcelona on Paseo de Gracia, in
London on Regent Street or in Frankfurt and we are constantly on the lookout for new prime stores. In terms of business, Sandro keeps on being successful in its homeland, France, but Italy, Spain, UK and Germany are also big players. On an international level, the USA and China are fast growing markets today.
Where do you see the future of retail, will there still be classic brick-and-mortar stores in ten years at all?
Retail still has a bright future, the physical store is and will remain the greatest form of media for a brand. Shoppers have the natural need to go into stores to try and touch the products. Our retail performance keeps on growing, proving that this distribution channel is still very strong. On the other hand, we saw an incredible growth of the online business over the last years. Consumers are more and more connected and new shopping habits are appearing, like shopping via Instagram. I believe that the future of the fashion business is omnichannel.
There are a lot of players in the premium/accessible luxury segment. What is it that Sandro does better than its competitors?
Accessible luxury is a very dynamic market. I believe that our creative power, our “value for money offer,” our store network strategy based on a pure retail model (100% integrated), our agility, our in-store service and our strong expansion plans are the pillars of today’s Sandro success. We are also lucky to have our founders and creative directors Evelyne Chetrite and Ilan Chetrite being very active and very involved in every collection.
With your background in luxury (fashion)–what do you find exciting about working with a much more accessible and trendy brand such as Sandro?
Many things! Even more than I thought when I joined three years ago! If I have to pitch some, I love the “entrepreneurial spirit.” Sandro has become a global leader, a global brand but the original mindset of “being entrepreneur” is very genuine at Sandro. Also, some of the strengths of the brand,which also make it so exciting, are its agility and desirability. Agility because we have the resources to adapt very quickly. Desirability because Sandro has an incredible power of attraction. The brand was created in 1984 and today has about 540 points of sale worldwide.
Sandro is a unique family success story and it’s very exciting to be a part of this adventure. We still have a long way to go and this challenge keeps me enthusiastic every day.
What are the most crucial macro trends/developments in the industry that keeps you concerned/busy these days?
In this industry, we must keep our creative power to stay alive. Bringing newness to our clients is a key to success–or a risk if you don’t do so. Another key challenge that we have already taken up is the digital environment. It’s in the heart of our strategies. E-commerce, social networks, etc….the online landscape keeps on growing constantly. We are very dynamic in this field and we keep our eyes wide open. E-commerce has become our number one store in the world. At last, we also listen and adapt to new generations like Millennials. It’s crucial to adapt to the industry’s macro trends, but above all, it’s also crucial not to lose one’s self and forget what is the most important: the product. Creating good products, with a trendy design, whilst offering a high level of quality, remains and will remain Sandro’s biggest leitmotif.
Fashion-wise, what are the core trends in Sandro’s spring/summer ’18 men’s and women’s line?
For the s/s ’18 women’s line, Evelyne Chetrite used multiple sources of inspirations. There is a strong floral presence and androgynous aspiration spiced with Cuban rhythms. She encourages Sandro customers to freely mix the pieces together, compose their own style and express their personality.
Ilan Chetrite thought of the Sandro Homme s/s ’18 collection as the combination of the elegance of the ‘50s with the spontaneity of the libertarian American youth, playing with vintage references but expressed in a very contemporary attitude.
Are there any new product groups that Sandro is launching/putting great hopes in?
We are increasingly enriching our accessories collection (leather goods and shoes) which performs very well. Next year, we will be launching an eyewear collection. We see a lot of opportunities in diversification, yet close to our brand DNA. Also, 2018 will mark Sandro Homme’s tenth anniversary. We have strong faith in Ilan’s vision and consider menswear as one of the key development areas for the brand.