NEW YORK — Montblanc North America is expected to announce this week that Jan-Patrick Schmitz will become president and chief executive officer on Friday, succeeding Karsten Martens, who in October will head up Montblanc’s global travel...
NEW YORK — Montblanc North America is expected to announce this week that Jan-Patrick Schmitz will become president and chief executive officer on Friday, succeeding Karsten Martens, who in October will head up Montblanc’s global travel retail business, based in Amsterdam.
The shifts reflect changing priorities at Montblanc. During his four years running the North America unit, Martens, a marketing executive, played a major role expanding the product mix from writing instruments to accessories, fragrance, leather goods, watches and eyewear. He also was instrumental in streamlining the wholesale distribution to finer retailers, fighting gray market distribution, bringing corporate gifts in-house, building up retail stores and overall, restoring the luxury reputation of the brand.
Under Schmitz, primarily an operations and logistics executive, new systems for better data flow and to support growth will be implemented. Montblanc could start utilizing the Dallas distribution center of Montblanc’s parent, Compagnie Financière Richemont. Currently, a third-party warehouse is used. Schmitz was director of the international executive committee and head of global supply chain management at Montblanc’s international headquarters in Hamburg, Germany, and was previously president and ceo of Montblanc Japan.He will report to Norbert Platt, chairman and ceo of Montblanc.
Montblanc’s North American operations include 49 freestanding boutiques, 56 in-store shops and 67 corners in fine jewelry and department stores. The division accounts for about 20 percent of Montblanc’s total sales of $350 million. Montblanc is considered Richemont’s second-largest brand; Cartier is the largest. The portfolio also includes Van Cleef & Arpels, Chloé, Alfred Dunhill and Lancel, as well as the Swiss watch manufacturers, Vacheron Constantin, IWC, A. Lange & Söhne, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Piaget, Officine Panerai and Baume & Mercier.
On the northwest corner of Madison Avenue and 57th Street, Montblanc will open its largest store — 5,200 square feet across three floors — in November. Generally, Montblanc stores are about 700 square feet, but the company needs bigger stores to accommodate its expanding product range. Montblanc’s existing 500-square-foot unit on Madison between 57th and 58th Streets will close when the flagship opens.
Martens will forge a strategy to beef up Montblanc’s travel business, including opening more airport outposts, as well asin-store shops.This year, the business has been flat, but is seen posting gains next year. “Global retailing has been hit significantly,” he said. “Sales are suffering. At the same time, airport operators are looking for strong brands to create destination shopping. In the past, people just shopped for cigarettes or alcohol. Now they’re shopping for luxury brands.”
Montblanc operates about 18 travel locations. A major location is opening in Waikiki in September, with a new boutique design. Travel locations represent slightly over 10 percent of Montblanc’s total business.
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