PARIS — Hugo Boss has a new look.
This story first appeared in the June 8, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The German fashion powerhouse on Wednesday unveiled its renovated flagship at 115 Avenue des Champs-Elysées in Paris, inaugurating a store concept that will be rolled out worldwide beginning in the fall.
“This store is the biggest in terms of size, but also the most important in terms of sales in our worldwide retail network,” Hugo Boss chief executive officer Claus-Dietrich Lahrs told WWD.
The luxurious refit pairs black-framed display units, inspired by the stark geometric paintings of Piet Mondrian, with tinted glass and fabric wall panels in warm mineral tones. Clear LED chandeliers provide a dynamic link between the ground floor, mezzanine and basement floors of the 13,200-square-foot store.
The aim is to encourage customers to browse freely between the company’s offerings, which range from men’s formalwear and sportswear to women’s wear and accessories.
The ground floor features the Boss Black and Boss Green men’s wear lines; Boss Black, Boss Orange and Hugo women’s wear collections, and women’s and men’s shoes and accessories. The sporty Boss Orange men’s line sits on the mezzanine, while the basement is devoted to the core men’s wear offer: Boss Black, Hugo and the upscale Boss Selection, alongside men’s shoes and accessories.
“Before, we had a much stronger separation and differentiation by brand. Today, we have one concept,” said Lahrs, adding that the renovation cost 5 million euros, or $6.2 million at current exchange.
The French store is the first of 10 flagships worldwide that will feature the new design. These include planned new stores in Shanghai and Berlin, and renovated stores in Sydney, New York and London. Beginning in January, all new stores opening worldwide will implement the concept.
Lahrs declined to provide revenue projections for the Champs-Elysées store, but said France was in the top-three European markets for Boss, which directly operates 660 stores worldwide.
“This investment for us is a very important one, because we not only show our new image and our new shop concept, and the way we expose our brands in our shop concept, to our French loyal consumers, but also to the ones visiting Paris for a couple of days,” he said.
Backed by two years of record sales and healthy earnings, Boss last year raised its midterm guidance. The company now projects sales of 3 billion euros, or $3.7 billion, in 2015 and an earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization margin of 25 percent. “We feel comfortable with this prediction,” Lahrs said.
Growth is coming from both regions and segments. The company’s top markets worldwide are Germany, the U.S. and China, where Boss staged a high-profile runway show last month to kick off a major expansion of its retail presence.
“We continue to believe that, for example, outside Germany — where we are the uncontested leader in our categories —we still have a long way to go,” Lahrs said. “The U.S. has been a very dynamic market environment for us for over three years now, which is nice to see, but China is certainly, in terms of growth potential, a key focus for us.”
Boss is banking on continued strong growth in the sportswear segment, reflecting increasingly casual dress codes for men, but is also expanding its made-to-measure service, which will become available in the Paris store in the second half of this year.
The custom suits, which cost from 1,800 to 3,000 euros, or $2,250 to $3,750, are made at the Boss headquarters in Metzingen, Germany, and take on average six weeks to deliver.
The made-to-measure offer will be rolled out to selected stores in Asia, including Beijing and Shanghai, but is designed to remain a niche offering, with the bulk of growth coming from the company’s traditional suit lines.
“We are by far the biggest premium luxury suit brand in the world. I don’t think that will change, because it is our heritage product,” said Lahrs. “We will do a lot in order to keep this product category innovative, fresh and desirable.”
Women’s wear is also expanding, with Lahrs forecasting it will account for 15 percent of sales by 2015 versus around 12 percent at present.
The key to success, he said, was balancing creative talent with industrial logic.
“This has helped us to create a very strong loyal following of customers who like to associate themselves with a worldwide renowned brand on the one hand, but with a very sensitive understanding of price and quality fit,” he said.