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The Hervé Léger by Max Azria retail network is growing.
This story first appeared in the August 28, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
BCBG Max Azria Group is expanding the label’s reach with store openings in London, Singapore and Dallas, and a relocation of its Madison Avenue unit in Manhattan.
Max Azria, designer and chief executive officer, said the recession presented opportunities for growth.
“With the downturn comes momentum,” Azria said. “The real estate becomes affordable, and the retail math becomes more logical for us according to our business formula.” In addition, he said the popularity and loyal customer base of Hervé Léger by Max Azria make retail growth “natural and necessary.”
The London store, which is to open on Sept. 17, just before fashion week kicks off in the British capital, will be the label’s largest in the world. The 1,745-square-foot boutique, at 29 Lowndes Street in the upscale Knightsbridge area, is split into two levels: a 560-square-foot main floor, and a 1,185-square-foot lower level that features a VIP area.
“We tested the U.K. market with Hervé Léger by Max Azria at Harrods and Selfridges,” Azria said. “Our sell-through has been in the double digits per week, and in regards to Harrods in, particular, our business has tripled from year to year.”
Azria declined to disclose sales projections for the new unit.
The Los Angeles-based company is bringing Hervé Léger by Max Azria to Singapore next month, when it will open a 1,000- square-foot boutique at the ION Mall, followed next March by a 1,080-square-foot store at the Marina Bay Sands Resort & Casino.
In the U.S., the company plans to open a 1,323-square-foot Hervé Léger by Max Azria boutique in Dallas’ NorthPark Center in October. The brand next month will relocate its Madison Avenue boutique from 744 Madison Avenue to a 1,377-square-foot space at 804 Madison Avenue. “Our lease was up at the old location, and we found an ideal space,” Azria said.
The Hervé Léger by Max Azria brand is wholesaled to stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and Intermix. Since Azria relaunched the label in 2007, it has become a favorite of celebrities. Rihanna, Kylie Minogue, Kate Bosworth, Diane Kruger and Beyoncé Knowles have worn looks.
Azria said he hopes for more expansion in the U.S. and sees freestanding retail opportunities in markets such as Canada, Scandinavia, Italy, and the Middle East, specifically Dubai, Lebanon and Kuwait.
As for the BCBG Azria Group’s overall strategy, Azria said there is more retail growth in the pipelines. “Retail expansion for all our brands, including Hervé Léger by Max Azria and BCBG Max Azria, will continue to be an important focus for us,” he said. “We look forward to expanding our presence throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.”