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Eres is set to open its first store in the U.K. on Nov. 4, an in-store boutique at Selfridges.
This story first appeared in the October 26, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Selfridges, which has been selling select intimates and swimwear by Eres for several years, will also feature the upscale brand in its Oxford Street window on Nov. 5 for a “big launch that should start the season very well,” said Sebastian Manes, director of lingerie, accessories and swimwear at Selfridges.
“We are very excited about Eres because the brand represents tradition, true luxury and exclusivity. We had been talking for a couple of seasons about doing an in-store shop, and we decided to make space for it,” said Manes, who noted the 378-square-foot shop environment will be ensconced on the third floor, which houses a 23,000-square-foot lingerie department, as well as luxury accessories brands such as Louis Vuitton and Chanel.
“We are taking lingerie very seriously. Selfridges has a very strong domestic lingerie customer as well as a growing foreign market of consumers. We’ve been building exclusivity by bringing more prestige brands to consumers, and we are also getting the younger crowd,” said Manes.
The launch in the U.K. market is part of an aggressive expansion plan on the part of the Chanel-owned French brand. In addition to the shop at Selfridges, Eres will open a 300-square-foot soft shop in early November at Jelmoli, a department store in Zurich. This follows the opening in August of two 333-square-foot shop environments at two department stores in Seoul: Shinsegae and Hyong Dong Kangnam. A 162-square-foot area within a duty-free apparel boutique at the Orly Sud airport in Paris was also unveiled in August, and the company is in the process of creating the first Eres shop at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, slated to open by 2010.
Describing Eres’ strategy for expansion, Olivier Mauny, chief executive officer, said, “I think when we develop the brand in one market, the ideal approach is to have a flagship store. It could be a store operated directly by us, a franchise, or a shop-in-shop. But we want a retail space that really represents the Eres image. The number -one priority is communication, an example being our Milan store for which we appointed a pr agency [Karla Otto] to grow awareness around the brand. We are taking the same approach for Selfridges, which for us is a flagship store and we have appointed The Communication Store as our pr agency there.”
Regarding expansion in the U.K., Mauny said, “For the time being, Selfridges is the right platform. We are looking at Selfridges as a partner for expansion with their other store in Manchester. We are looking at a perspective of 12 months.” Mauny added Eres is looking at several target areas for further expansion over the next several years, in “neighboring European countries, the U.S., Russia, and possibly Turkey and Greece.”
“I am completely committed to expanding our business, but we are doing it in a very selective and cautious way. We want to build our business without ruining the image of Eres,” said Mauny, who described the luxury brand and its ad campaigns as representing “simplicity, graphic design, elegance and pure lines.”
Eres operates 12 freestanding boutiques worldwide, the newest being an 800-square-foot unit in Milan that opened in April. All of the boutiques including in-store shops, with the exception of South Korea, are designed by Georges Rabineau in a graphic, contemporary style. In addition to seven boutiques in France and four freestanding units in the U.S., the company sells its luxury products in around 500 outlets internationally.
Eres swimwear was introduced in 1968 by its founder, Irene Leroux, who launched Eres lingerie in 1998, a year after Chanel bought the brand. Leroux exited Eres in late 2008 and the collection has been designed by the brand’s artistic director, Valerie Delafosse, since 2007.
Regarding marketing and advertising, the spring-summer 2010 campaign, photographed by Camilla Akrans, continues to feature Lara Stone, who was the face of Eres’ fall-winter 2009 campaign and has appeared in 2009 campaigns for Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier and Hugo Boss. Mafia is the Paris-based ad agency.