Cacharel to Reposition Under New CEO

Richard Alibert takes over as the fashion house prepares to bring design, sales and advertising back in-house.

PARIS — Cacharel on Tuesday named Richard Alibert chief executive officer as the company prepares to bring back in-house the design, sales and advertising for all of its ready-to-wear lines, following the termination of a women’s wear license with Italian manufacturer Aeffe SpA.

This story first appeared in the November 21, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

An entrepreneur who has also worked at Celine and Bonpoint, Alibert took over Nov. 1, following the departure of his predecessor Pascal d’Halluin after a five-month trial period.

Cacharel founder and president Jean Bousquet revealed the appointment at a news conference, during which he outlined plans to partner with French companies for the production of its women’s, men’s and children’s collections. The new collections will carry the name Cacharel Paris starting with fall 2013.

“It’s not a revolution, it’s a repositioning,” he said.

These partners will be in charge of everything from prototypes to transport, although the clothes will be manufactured outside of France, said Bousquet, noting that fabrication costs represent only 20 to 30 percent of the final product cost. “The bulk of Cacharel’s turnover will be done in France,” he said.

Bousquet forecast that Cacharel would post a loss of 200,000 to 500,000 euros, or $259,000 to $648,000 at current exchange, in 2012. That compares to a profit of 1.5 million euros, or $2.1 million, the previous year.

Cacharel posted wholesale turnover of 150 million euros, or $209 million, in 2011, with perfume royalties accounting for 75 percent, women’s wear for 15 percent and other licenses for 10 percent, according to figures provided by the company.

Bousquet noted that although Cacharel’s rtw was present in 280 points of sale worldwide, sales under Aeffe were disappointing because the Italian firm — which owns the Alberta Ferretti, Moschino and Pollini brands and produces and distributes the Cédric Charlier and Emanuel Ungaro collections — positioned it as a designer line. “Cacharel was much too expensive,” Bousquet said.

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The collection will be repositioned in the contemporary bracket, with average price points coming down by 30 to 40 percent, he added. Shirts will be priced at 150 to 180 euros, or $195 to $235; dresses at 250 to 350 euros, or $325 to $455, and coats at about 500 euros, or $650.

Executives hope that, by 2014, the brand will be carried in 500 points of sale and will reopen a Paris flagship. Its children’s collection will be available at French department store Printemps from next spring, and it plans to eventually open corners for its women’s wear line in various French department stores.

“The brand has to be strong in Paris and in France. If we are not strong here, then we can’t pretend to be strong elsewhere,” Bousquet said.

The design duo of Ling Liu and Dawei Sun will remain at the creative helm of the house, which plans to continue staging a runway show during Paris Fashion Week.

Sales will be handled in-house, with the planned opening of seven showrooms worldwide in cities including Tokyo, New York and Milan and the hiring of five sales executives, who will join an existing staff of 30 at the company.

The house is also preparing to shoot an advertising campaign in December with an unnamed U.S. husband-and-wife duo, Bousquet said.

The family-owned brand had been reduced to a licensing operation since implementing a restructuring plan in 2010 that involved selling its outlet stores and rights to its men’s wear for seven markets, including Turkey, in order to preserve jobs and fund future development.

In addition to its perfume license with L’Oréal, Cacharel has licenses with Christian Bernard for jewelry; Mondottica for sunglasses and eyewear; Plastoria for business gifts, and Hankook for tableware, destined mainly for the Southeast Asian market.