Though being traditionally better established in the Southern countries of the old continent with retail stores, Guess has ambitious expansion plans in Northern Europe now. The first stone was laid in Ringsted (Denmark), where a 315-sqaure-meter outlet store opened its doors on November 3. Later this month, the denim brand is opening a similarly-sized shop in the Bruun Galleri, a shopping mall in Aarhus. “Northern Europe, particularly Scandinavia, presents a great development potential for us. With more than 27 million inhabitants and one of the highest GDPs in Europe, this region is an important strategic market,” said Victor Herrero, CEO von Guess?, Inc. We spoke with the executive to know a bit more about these plans.
Guess has plans to open over ten stores across Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway in the next 2 years. What is the turnover share achieved by northern Europe and Scandinavia right now? How shall this figure look like in the future?
Northern Europe will represent more than 20% of our overall business in the European segment next year. This is quite an impressive result for us considering the fact that our brand is very much consolidated and extremely successful in Southern Europe in which we have the majority of our retail stores. We really invested in expanding our Stock-Keeping Unit’s (SKU) offering in order to address the markets needs and most importantly we invested in our own direct teams who have control over the distribution and development of the brand.
Northern Europe will represent more than 20% of our overall business in the European segment next year.
How many of those new retail doors are set to be factory outlet shops?
We did a clear country mapping of the region and our strategy is to enter the best shopping malls in key cities with our retail Guess format and to enter the main factory mall developments with our Factory store concept. Of course we are also entering the markets with our e commerce channel which is definitely a key growth engine for our company. The retail world has changed over the last decade. Brands must follow where the consumer wants to shop and today e-commerce and factory malls are becoming an important part of the retail equation. [Editor’s note: after further enquiring, the brand refused to give out the specific number of outlet stores comprehended within the ten openings planned in Northern Europe. According to the brand's annual report for 2016, from the 456 Guess stores in the US and Canada, 152 were Guess Factory Outlet stores, representing one third of the total retail network in these territories. The total number of outlet stores in Europe isn't contained in the report]
The recently-opened shop in Ringsted features Guess’s new global concept for outlet stores. Are outlet locations gaining momentum for the brand?
Our main format is Guess. We are targeting all the new major mall developments across Europe with a key focus on new territories that still represent a white space for us such as Turkey, Russia, Benelux and Scandinavia. In addition we will also open Factory stores targeting the key triple A outlet mall in Europe.
Still in Ringsted: the accessories collection is being displayed in the center stage, making the product presentation visible from every angle of the store. Are accessories the best-selling product category for the brand? If so, which accessories are leading the ranking?
We allocate 30% of the retail space to our accessories categories and they represent in average 35% of our retail sales. We have over 25 product categories in our stores making us a true lifestyle brand. Handbags, footwear and watches are the key categories in our accessories segment.
We allocate 30% of the retail space to our accessories categories and they represent in average 35% of our retail sales. Handbags, footwear and watches are the key categories in our accessories segment.
What is the volume of sales that outlet stores represent for Guess in Europe?
Outlet stores are part of our expansion plan in Europe and we will target the key outlet locations in uncharted territories but our main focus will be to develop our free standing stores and e-commerce channel with a very aggressive growth plan across Europe. [Editor’s note: upon further request, any concrete sales volume for outlet stores was given out by the brand]