People’s Liberation in Russe Exclusive

Charlotte Russe will soon become the exclusive retailer of the People's Liberation brand.

Charlotte Russe will be the lone retailer of People’s Liberation.

In a step toward modernizing its shopping experience, Charlotte Russe will soon become the exclusive retailer of the Los Angeles-based People’s Liberation brand.

This story first appeared in the December 18, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

In the multiyear agreement, the four-year-old People’s Liberation brand will be sold in Charlotte Russe’s 487 stores in 45 states and Puerto Rico beginning with the 2009 back-to-school season. Product will also be available on charlotterusse.com and peoplesliberation.com.

“Our research tells us that the customer is very interested in brands like this, and we are looking forward to sharing the People’s Liberation brand with our customers in a very compelling way,” said Jennifer Salopek, chairman of Charlotte Russe Holding Inc.

For People’s Liberation — which currently sells at high-end specialty and department stores including Nordstrom, Fred Segal, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s — the deal with Charlotte Russe will increase the brand’s distribution level once the company exits its current roster of upscale stores in April.

“The key here will be to offer a truly premium product at a value price point and not take away from the premium side of the product,” said Colin Dyne, chief executive officer of People’s Liberation. “The quality and the design will not change, it will just be more affordable for the Charlotte Russe customer.”

Known best as a premium denim brand, the new People’s Liberation assortment for the San Diego-based retailer will consist of denim jeans, casual knitwear, activewear and accessories. Retail prices for the new collection will range from $18 for a knit top to $100 for a pair of jeans. Store executives said the merchandise will fit in with the current mix of brands, which include private label junior sportswear labels Charlotte Russe, Refuge and Blu Chic. The People’s Liberation line currently wholesales between $25 and $85.

The new collection will continue to be sourced, designed and produced by People’s Liberation Inc. It will also continue to be designed under the direction of Marcella Lindeberg, who has a hand in the J. Lindeberg and William Rast brands, also owned by People’s Liberation. In August, Lindeberg told WWD she had plans to develop the brand into a full lifestyle collection, hoping to add more categories such as swimwear, activewear, accessories and eyewear. These are categories the company still hopes to develop, Salopek said.

In addition, Charlotte Russe plans to launch a marketing campaign for the brand, where it will be merchandised as a collection.

“The location of the People’s Liberation collection will be clear in every location with branded marketing, photographs and specially designed fixtures,” said Emilia Fabricant, president and chief merchandising officer at Charlotte Russe.