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PARIS — Turning a page on its past as a retail-driven conglomerate, PPR is changing its name to Kering, effective June 18.
Starting this week, the company will launch a print campaign in six countries — the U.S., France, Italy, U.K., China and Japan — to reveal the development, along with an online commercial.
The change in name and visual identity comes as the publicly traded French group, controlled by the Pinault family, nears the completion of its transformation to a fashion and accessories specialist in the luxury and sport-lifestyle segments.
Originally an acronym for Pinault-Printemps-Redoute, PPR began edging out of retail in 2006 when it sold the Printemps retail chain, following up with a stock market listing for African trading company CFAO in 2009 and a sale of the Conforama furniture chain to Steinhoff International in 2010.
RELATED STORY: Gucci Parent Kering Acquires Tannery >>
The group plans to spin off its Fnac music, books and electronics chain this summer, and to sell La Redoute, the last major chunk of the Redcats catalogue empire, by the end of 2013.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, chief executive officer François-Henri Pinault said the word “ker” has its roots in the Brittany region of France, from which his family hails, and connotes a house or home.
Pinault also unveiled Kering’s new logo — a stylized owl with a heart-shaped face — and tag line, “Empowering Imagination.”
He said the new name was to connote how the firm takes care of its brands — which include Gucci, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen and Puma — and its 33,400 employees.
“Fair, honest, positive and creative” are the four values the conveyed by the name, which also telegraphs the company’s commitments to sustainable development, he said.
PPR worked with the agencies Dragon Rouge and Havas Lifestyle on the new visual identity and TBWA for the launch campaign.
A Chinese version of the name, Kai Yun, has a slightly different yet similarly positive meaning, referring to open skies.
Pinault said the choice of the owl winks to the favorite animal of his father, who established the timber trading company Pinault SA back in 1963. During an upbeat, off-the-cuff address, Pinault said the name change follows a “deep reflection” on the character of the 9.7 billion euro, or $12.56 billion, enterprise he leads, and a streamlining of its organization to accommodate its transformation and a fast-changing industry.
He said the world’s “economic center of gravity” is shifting toward emerging markets, which promise to deliver some 3 billion young and affluent consumers from such nations as China, Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil and Russia.
Pinault SA went public in 1988 and began acquiring retail banners in the Nineties, transitioning to luxury in 1999 with an investment in Gucci Group.
Today its luxury division also includes Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney, Sergio Rossi, Brioni, Boucheron, Girard-Perregaux and Jean Richard, with Qeelin and Christopher Kane its latest acquisitions. Its nascent sport-lifestyle division, centered on Puma, also includes the brands Volcom, Cobra, Tretorn and Electric.
Pinault said he is zeroing in on a new ceo for Puma, which has been underperforming, and will make an announcement in the coming weeks.
The company teamed with French blogger Garance Doré on a series of video clips about the name change that will be broadcast on a variety of online platforms starting on April 2.