LONDON — AllSaints, the London-based contemporary label known for its edgy, highly detailed designs, is making moves on the American market.
The 15-year-old label will begin its U.S. push in November with the opening of its first stand-alone units, one on Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles and a 7,500-square-foot store on Lincoln Road in Miami in December. This will be followed by a third store opening in the spring, a 13,600-square-foot flagship on Broadway and Spring Street in Manhattan.
An American e-commerce site launched this week at allsaints.com. The three units will join the label’s current portfolio of 47 stores in the U.K., where it is also distributed in 55 department store doors. The label also has freestanding units in Antwerp, Belgium, and Paris, and a Berlin store is due to open this month.
Paul McAdam, chief executive officer of AllSaints North America, said he believes the brand is a fresh proposition for the U.S. market.
“It’s a uniquely styled product that’s good quality at a bridge price point,” he said.
The label made its name in the U.K. by offering clothing with a vintage edge. It is designed and created by a team based at its Shoreditch, East London, headquarters.
AllSaints current fall collection features boyfriend jeans in a distressed, faded and creased denim; snug, Italian lamb’s leather jackets that have been washed to give them a lived-in feel, and silk georgette corseted dresses. Prices will range from about $50 for a printed T-shirt to about $600 for a leather jacket.
The label dipped its toe into the U.S. market this summer. AllSaints opened an in-store shop at Bloomingdale’s in New York in August, and McAdam said sales exceeded the company’s expectations.
“The consumer in London is very similar to the consumer in New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo,” he said.
McAdam added that despite the muted mood among U.S. consumers, he views it as an opportune moment to expand in the region.
“Because the economy is still slightly depressed, we’re signing into very competitive leases,” he said, adding the label plans to open 30 to 50 stores in key cities across the U.S. over the next three to five years.
AllSaints secured a loan of 30 million pounds, or $47.8 million at current exchange, earlier this year after its former investor, the Icelandic investment company Baugur Group, went into administration in March. British retail entrepreneur Kevin Stanford is the chairman and majority shareholder.
A London-based analyst described AllSaints as “thriving” in the U.K.’s competitive retail sector, thanks to its “clear position” in terms of style, silhouettes and fabrics. “AllSaints has quite an eclectic mix of customers — sophisticated late teenagers through to fashion aware women in their 30s and 40s could shop AllSaints,” said the analyst, though he cautioned the label’s look may not resonate with customers “outside of major metropolitan areas” in the U.S. However, McAdam said he does not plan to open stores outside of “key urban cities” in the region.
McAdam has set lofty goals for the label in the U.S. AllSaints posted sales of 105 million pounds, or $167 million, in fiscal 2008 and McAdam believes that within three years its U.S. business will come to represent “a similar business, if not greater than that in the U.K.”
In line with the company’s word-of-mouth marketing strategy in the U.K., AllSaints does not have an aggressive marketing plan for its U.S. debut, though it is exploring some marketing opportunities.
“The product and store aesthetic sells itself,” he said, referring to AllSaints shabby chic stores, which are typically styled with a mix of wooden and polished steel floors, walls covered in vintage glazed tiles and quirky details such as old Singer sewing machines rather than mannequins in the windows.
AllSaints’ stores in the U.S. are company owned and McAdam said the label plans to expand through retail, rather than wholesale.
“We don’t want to change our model for the U.S. and we like to control our own environment,” he said.
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