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New Delvaux CEO Gears Up for Growth

The company is finalizing a new store concept, which will be rolled out in fiscal 2013, and is looking for partners for an international expansion.

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PARIS — Having revamped its product lineup, Belgian luxury leather goods brand Delvaux is ready to expand its global footprint.

Marco Probst, who took over as chief executive officer of Delvaux on Sept. 3, said the company was finalizing a new store concept, which will be rolled out in fiscal 2013, and is looking for partners for an international expansion.

“This is an incredible brand, a real luxury brand. It’s timeless. I mean, 180 years of existence without any interruption speaks for itself. Seeing the museum at our headquarters, it’s just such a large fund of ideas and themes. I think this brand deserves to be more visible,” he told WWD.

Delvaux was acquired last year by Fung Brands Limited, the privately held investment firm headed by Jean-Marc Loubier, which now owns 80 percent of the capital. The Schwennicke family, which has owned and managed Delvaux since 1933, holds the remaining 20 percent.

Fung’s first move was to bring in Christina Zeller as product and merchandising director. Probst, formerly chief operating officer at Chloé, succeeds Christian Salez as ceo.

Founded in 1829, Delvaux has 16 stores across Belgium and recently began edging out onto the international stage by establishing exclusive partnerships with retailers such as Isetan Japan and 10 Corso Como in Milan, Barneys New York in the U.S., and Selfridges and Dover Street Market in London.

Probst said Belgium accounts for 90 percent of the company’s sales, but he noted that overseas expansion would have to be handled cautiously, as all Delvaux handbags are made by hand.

“We will sit back and consider regional commercial strategies on how to support the brand,” he said.

“It always needs to go along with our internal capacity, in terms of production, but also in terms of development. We have a few craftsmen who are really able to build these bags. We’re in the process of teaching younger people to follow up, so everything needs to be balanced,” he added.

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