Le Coq Sportif is taking another crack at resuscitating its brand.
Under new owners, the French sportswear company hopes to find the footing it lost over the last two decades by keeping the distribution small and making the women's and men's sportswear, activewear and footwear true to its heritage.
"Our formula is sport plus France plus fashion equals Le Coq Sportif," said Tim McCool, chief executive officer of Le Coq Sportif's Portland, Ore.-based North American subsidiary.
Founded as a family business in France in 1882, its iconic logo of a rooster set within a triangle helped it grow into a popular sports apparel brand by the Fifties. In the last quarter century, the company has changed hands several times: Adidas sold the brand to Brown Shoe Co. Inc. in 1995, which sold it to a private French firm in 1999, which in 2005 sold the majority interest to Airesis — in which former Adidas head Robert Louis-Dreyfus is a principal.
"Once it left Adidas and went to other owners who licensed it out, the brand lost its way," said McCool. "There was no reinvestment in the brand."
The new owners bought back its distribution in 2006, when distribution discontinued in the U.S. Prior to that, volume in the U.S. had been less than $10 million; McCool projects U.S. volume will reach $10 million wholesale over the next few years.
Unlike previous incarnations of Le Coq Sportif, the U.S. products will not be separate from the French ones. The clothes blend retro, European and sport aesthetics in pieces such as a Twenties-inspired tennis dress or knee-length walking shorts. The product offerings will have two main focuses: fashion and sport. Fashion should make up about a third of sales, while the sport collection — which centers around tennis — should bring in about double that. The apparel wholesales from approximately $20 to $50.
"The brand does not have much identity in the U.S.," McCool admitted. "We asked ourselves, who remembered us in the U.S.? We think they are 25- to 30-year-olds who play tennis. And who knows us in the U.S.? That's 20- to 30-year-olds who travel and know us from abroad. Together these higher income young men and women make up the pillar of our target in the U.S. market."McCool started his career at Nike, then opened his own marketing firm, Portland-based Sports Inc., which created the Van Grack brand that hit $16 million in sales at its peak. Adidas bought Sports Inc. in the late Eighties, and McCool joined Adidas, where he worked until 2004 as director of U.S. sales. He's been a consultant since then.
In the U.S., Le Coq Sportif will focus on New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago — large cities with international reach, explained McCool. The U.S. is the French company's second priority after its home nation, he said, and the company hopes to replicate its success in Europe, where Le Coq tripled its business between 2006 and 2007, in America.
The marketing budget in the first year will be equal to about 13 percent of sales and will be focused on the four city markets. A sense of humor is key to the brand, which plays with its rooster motif in its ads and displays. At Project, where the line will bow for buyers, the brand's booth will be set up as a chicken coop, with a chicken rotisserie that can be used to display footwear in stores.
McCool wants to avoid big box sporting goods store distribution and is focusing on specialty retailers. "We have been blessed by having a company that wants to stay small," McCool said. "We want to be an elitist brand."
@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 (📷: Dominique Maître)
@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)