By  on July 12, 2010

Lacoste will introduce a new subbrand this fall dubbed Lacoste Live, targeting a younger, more contemporary customer than its core sportswear collections. The label will carry unique branding supported by a separate marketing campaign. In addition, 60 dedicated Lacoste Live stores are set to open in the coming months, the first slated to bow in early September in New York’s SoHo neighborhood. Stores will follow in international markets including Paris, London, Berlin, Zurich and Tokyo.

“This is a new 360-degree concept that includes its own design team, stores, wholesale distribution and advertising,” said Steve Birkhold, chief executive officer of Devanlay U.S. Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Paris-based Devanlay SA, the worldwide apparel and accessories licensee for Lacoste.

While the stores will open later this year, the first men’s wholesale collection for Lacoste Live will hit department and specialty stores next spring. Women’s wear under the new label will bow in fall 2011.

“At our retail partners, we expect Live to sit with denim and contemporary collections while the core Lacoste product will remain in sportswear departments,” explained Birkhold.

Prices for Lacoste Live categories will be on par with other Lacoste products, with polos at $79.50, wovens at $88 to $110, denim at $130 to $175 and jackets at $125 to $225. The differentiation will be in slimmer fits and more fashion-forward designs, such as optic prints and zigzag stripes on tops.

Lacoste Live will subsume the Lacoste Red product, which was the company’s previous contemporary initiative but which did not carry a unique label. Lacoste Live is projected to account for 10 to 15 percent of total U.S. Lacoste sales in its first years.

The first Lacoste Live store will open at 134 Prince Street, replacing an existing Lacoste boutique. Additional markets being considered for units include Los Angeles, Boston, Miami and Georgetown. “The new design will have a warmer, more casual feel than the stark, white environment of the traditional Lacoste shop,” said Birkhold.

Footwear, which is licensed to Pentland Group Plc, will be a key category in the new stores, comprising about 40 percent of projected sales. Lacoste Live product also will be available in the company’s 67 U.S. Lacoste boutiques and on the Lacoste e-commerce site.

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