Esprit is revisiting the drawing board once again in the U.S.
The company is consolidating its different apparel brands into a single moniker in an effort to simplify the assortment for consumers. Esprit’s brands include women’s casual, women’s collection, de.corp Esprit Urban Casual and edc by Esprit, with each brand multiplied by 12 for the number of collections produced each year. There’s the same dizzying array for men, and kids have edc youth by Esprit, Esprit shoes and ESP Esprit sports.
“In the past, we had all these different brands,” said John Gunn, continental president of Esprit North America. “A lot of customers didn’t know the difference between the names. We tried to target an overlapping and different clientele. Edc was for an 18- to 24-year-old customer. Our target consumer is now a woman who is ‘forever 30.’ Now the brand will be saying the same thing to all women. In the past we were even using different size blocks. Nine months from now, we’ll be totally aligned — one brand direction. Some brands are still a little bit off on their own. It’s a completely different mind-set from what we were used to in the past.”
The moves come as there are reports Esprit might once again look to pull out of North America, which it has done before.
Gunn declined to comment, as did Esprit global business headquarters in Ratingen, Germany, saying the company does not comment on rumors.
Same-store sales at Esprit’s North American stores declined 4.9 percent in the fiscal first half ended Dec. 31, 2010, compared with a 1.7 percent drop in Europe and a 0.6 percent increase in the Asia-Pacific region. Esprit in the first half opened 13 new stores in North America, for a total of 95.
Esprit has left the U.S. once before. The brand floundered when founders Susie and Doug Tompkins filed for divorce and continued to slide when the recession hit in the early Nineties. Esprit Holdings Ltd., which is based in Hong Kong, in 2002 bought the logo and the U.S. rights and has taken moves to improve the business, including opening an 18,000-square-foot flagship on West 34th Street in Manhattan in 2010.
In October, Jörgen Andersson, former chief executive officer of H&M in Switzerland, became Esprit’s director of brand and new business, and Jan Nord, H&M’s former creative director, joined Esprit as creative director of brand and new business.
“With Jan and Jörgen, there’s a lot of kinks to figure out,” said Gunn of the new strategy in North America. But he believes they are taking the brand in the right direction. “We took all of the divisions and put them into dressing moments,” said Gunn. “For example, we ran a whole white story this summer. Now, the denim story is not in three locations on three different floors. In January, when we buy the spring season for stores, we won’t be buying by division, we’ll be buying the 10 best dresses.”
Esprit stores are being redesigned once again. The company created its largest unit in the world in Frankfurt by adding two floors to an existing flagship. The design features open areas in the floors and ceilings so to show off the entire “world of Esprit” at a glance. Gunn said the new design elements will come to the 34th Street flagship at some stage.
A new ad campaign featuring Erin Wasson and Gisele Bündchen will be in Esprit stores next month. “Using Erin and Gisele has really elevated the brand,” said Gunn. “We were a little disjointed between how our stores looked and how the product and marketing looked. We were trying to go after the 28- to 34-year-old woman and showing 18-year-olds in ads.”
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)