By opening its first freestanding boutique for young women in Paris on Tuesday, Levi Strauss & Co. is gearing up to build its business in the female market.
With a bright red facade, the 1,100-square-foot, two-level store in the busy Les Halles shopping district is called Levi’s For Girls and targets shoppers aged 19 to 25. Market sources estimated it could generate about $4.5 million in first-year sales.
The store debuts in advance of Levi’s plan to roll out a line targeting teenagers from 14 to 19 starting in February. The line, exclusive to Europe, will be called Lady Levi’s.
“The store is part of a bigger strategy to show that we are serious about women,” explained Rachel Goldner, brand manager for women’s at Levi’s Europe. “We’ve always had clothes for women, but now we want to communicate and to take our business to another level.”
Goldner said women’s wear presently accounts for more than 20 percent of Levi’s total sales in Europe. She said sales of women’s wear grew by about 15 percent last year and she hopes that double-digit growth in the category will continue.
“We’re not known as a girl’s brand,” she said. “But we’ve been working hard to add a feminine touch. That’s what we’re doing with this store.”
Designed by U.K.-based firm Checkland & Kindleysides, which has designed Levi’s stores in Europe for the past decade, the store is a playful version of a teenager’s room.
The walls have red flame-like graffiti, and clothes are displayed on curving racks. Besides Levi’s signature red, the color scheme is pink and blue. Metal curtains hang from the ceiling and red puff chairs are scattered around.
“We wanted it to be Pop Art and psychedelic,” said Goldner. “It’s more about a tougher girl than a Lolita.”
Goldner said this month Levi’s introduced the concept to its corners at the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps department stores, too. Ultimately, it will be integrated into all of its units across France.Earlier this year, a shop-in-shop based on the concept was opened in the French fast-fashion chain Etam’s flagship here.
“Sales have been strong there,” said Goldner. “We know we have a winning concept. We conducted surveys with girls asking them how they like to shop. They want to feel comfortable and they want to know that they can take their time.”
Goldner said that there are no immediate plans to open other Levi’s For Girls stores, but that others would probably follow.
“For the moment we’ve decided to concentrate on France,” she said. “Paris is the fashion capital of the world. And if we do well here we can do well elsewhere.”
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