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Vince Camuto Sets Aggressive International Plan

The company, which has 30 international stores, plans to expand the business to more than 100 overseas doors in 2013.

The Vince Camuto store in the Dubai Mall.

NEW YORK — Vince Camuto, whose brand spans more than 20 product categories ranging from footwear, handbags and apparel to jewelry, swimwear and fragrance, is moving swiftly on the international front. The company, which has 30 international stores, plans to expand the business to more than 100 overseas doors in 2013.

After opening units this year in Dubai, Singapore, Japan, Panama, the Dominican Republic and Honduras, the company will open more stores in 2012 in the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, the Ukraine, Singapore, Japan, the Philippines, Australia and Mexico.

Greg Morel, vice president of international at Camuto Group, said that depending on the region, the company always opens stores with one or two partners. “Within each region, we’ll go with a partner with great knowledge of the local market,” he said. The stores, which offer most of the categories, average about 1,400 square feet, although the flagship unit at the Dubai Mall, which opened in early May, is 2,500 square feet.

Camuto, the six-year-old brand that expanded into multiple lifestyle categories in 2009, opened its first freestanding international boutique in spring 2010, in Tunisia. That unit was quickly followed by openings in Israel, Algeria, the Ukraine, Taiwan, the Philippines and Mexico. The business in Mexico has been particularly robust with current locations in the Angelopolis Mall in Puebla, as well as the Antara Polanco Mall, an upscale open-air shopping center in Mexico City. Plans call for another location in the Santa Fe Center Mall in Mexico City.

This past spring, Camuto signed an exclusive distribution partnership with Kurt Geiger, Europe’s largest upscale footwear retailer, which is part of the Jones Group, across the U.K., Germany and Ireland, and intends to launch in more than 70 doors for holiday 2012. The deal allows Camuto to expand its footprint in Europe, as well as in key department stores such as Selfridges, Harrods and Brown Thomas. Camuto Group also secured an exclusive distribution agreement with Genesis Luxury, a major distributor and retailer in India. The first two stores are slated to open in key cities such as Delhi and Mumbai in 2013, followed by an additional 14 locations over the next few years. Genesis Luxury currently represents brands such as Jimmy Choo, Etro and Bottega Veneta.

Japan is also viewed as a growth opportunity for Camuto. About six locations are currently being developed for Japan in 2013. Plans are under way for multiple locations in China, as well as the first Vince Camuto flagship in central London in March 2013.

Vince Camuto, chief executive officer and chief creative officer of the Camuto Group, told WWD that international retail currently accounts for 30 percent of his business. “The next few years we’ll ramp up, and it could go as high as 40 to 50 percent,” said Camuto. The brand is presently distributed in more than 50 countries, and is also sold in various specialty stores in countries such as Thailand, Spain, Italy, Greece, Canada, Turkey and Russia.

Camuto pointed out that the U.S. stores are performing very well. By the end of the year, he expects to have 15 stores in the U.S. “We have four to five new stores in the works right now,” said Camuto. “We’re working with developers to get premium spaces.”

Morel noted that six months before the company enters a new market, it employs a multifaceted marketing and p.r. strategy. “When the store opens, the local customer has a good knowledge of the brand and what we’re doing,” he said.