NEW YORK — Having acquired a majority stake in the elite producer of tanned skins France Croco earlier this week, Kering is still on the march.
This story first appeared in the March 27, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Potential London locations for Christopher Kane’s first freestanding store are being scouted. And in the next two weeks — if not sooner — the company will be ready to reveal who will take over the top job at Puma. An athletic industry insider is said to be at the top of the list.
These initiatives were revealed Tuesday at a lunch at La Grenouille here to discuss the name change of PPR to Kering, which officially takes effect on June 18.
The company’s 50th anniversary seemed like a fine time for re-branding, according to Laurent Claquin, head of Kering Americas, who detailed the changes underfoot. No longer a French-centric financial holding company, Kering has zeroed in on apparel and accessories, with 13 of 18 brands being luxury ones. Now, 95 percent of Kering’s revenues come from outside France, compared with 60 percent a few years ago, he said. (English became the company’s preferred language two or three years ago for its 33,000 staffers).
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The conglomerate’s new international and integrative setup gives it more muscle when negotiating retail space with commercial landlords, among other things. Emphasizing how Kering is looking after its brands, Claquin noted how the Alexander McQueen business has increased 12-fold since it was acquired in 2001, while Stella McCartney’s business has grown 11-fold in that same time frame.
Claquin also previewed the first of five videos that blogger Garance Doré has created for a host of online platforms and social media. Called “Family,” her first effort features interviews with chief executive officer François-Henri Pinault (or “F.H.P.” as Volcom’s senior vice president of marketing, Ryan Immegart, refers to him later in the clip). In another brief chat, Gucci chief executive officer Patrizio di Marco tells Doré, “Family is a wonderful word because only working together can we realize our goals.”
There was also much discussion about the “Empowering Imagination” tag line, the new owl logo and the root of the Kering name — “ker” has its roots in the Brittany region of France, where Pinault’s family is from, which connotes a house or home. Aside from being associated with wisdom and movement, owls have great vision, since they have the ability to turn their heads 270 degrees without breaking their necks, Claquin said.
Pinault shied away from the idea of using his family name for the company. “You never know what might happen with a company that would affect a family or vice versa,” Claquin said.
In any event, the Kering work family seems to have taken to their new name, with “That’s a very Kering thing to do” being the new inner-office slang.