NEW YORK — Jones Apparel Group is opening the floodgates in its effort to build Bandolino into a multifaceted lifestyle brand at a moderate price.
For spring, casual sportswear, denim and dresses will be added to the collection’s current lineup of career-oriented sportswear, shoes and accessories.
Jones is looking to push the brand to the forefront of the consumer’s mind with the fuller, year-round retail presence the new lines offer and a marketing budget that’s increasing by more than 30 percent next year.
“The moderate bar’s been raised,” said Lynne Coté, Jones’ group chief executive officer of women’s moderate sportswear. “We don’t treat this brand, just because it’s moderate, any different than we do our better brands.”
Last year, Jones derived just over 30 percent of its $4.38 billion in sales from moderate apparel.
Bandolino’s branding and lifestyle positioning is a sign of the times in moderate, where department stores have increasingly had to differentiate themselves from lower-priced national chains like Kohl’s and the consumer has come to expect more than just cheap clothes.
The moderate area is echoing the action in better as brands like Bandolino and O Oscar and Sag Harbor, both produced by Kellwood Co., vie for more exposure. Moderate department store lines also have to compete with branded offerings from other channels, such as Old Navy and Target’s various lines, which are usually sold at lower prices, but are collectively brightened by the halo of the discounter’s muscular branding efforts.
“It’s probably a trend [of branding moderate] and I think it’s probably not going to go away,” said Jones ceo Peter Boneparth. “It’s going to be very hard for label-driven businesses rather than branded companies to exist. You can’t run a business living and dying by a delivery and that’s what happens when you’re a label. You can weather a lot of storms productwise if there’s a lot of brand equity.”
With a more than 30-year history, Bandolino already has some brand value that Boneparth said was being “reignited.”
“Jones and the superplayers of the Nineties really are in a very unique position,” said brand consultant Catherine Sadler, who said that, having grown so large so quickly, they now have to become more creative to meet the demands of their shareholders.
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