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G-Star will launch the first of its new Q-Store retail concepts on Friday in the Brigade store in the Beachwood Place mall near Cleveland. Q-Stores provide a ready-made format for independent specialty stores to operate a substantial G-Star business within a multibrand shop.
This story first appeared in the May 26, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“The Q-Store is a concentrated, multibrand concept for which the total store size can be anywhere from 1,200 to 2,500 square feet, with 50 to 65 percent of the sales floor being dedicated to G-Star, and the remainder being made up of other premium brands which complement G-Star,” explained Stuart Millar, executive vice president of G-Star North America. Q-Stores use uniform fixtures and decor to create a branded G-Star environment intended to boost brand sales.
The Q-Store concept was conceived nine months ago by Amsterdam-based G-Star and so far six stores outside the U.S. have been outfitted with the setup. It is an enlargement of the company’s Q-System format, which is installed in both department and specialty stores to showcase G-Star product and requires a minimum of 200 square feet of selling space dedicated to the label. There currently are six Q-Systems in place in the U.S. and over 1,150 in stores worldwide.
“G-Star has been a significant part of our sales every season and we saw this as an opportunity to increase sales,” said Brian O’Neill, co-owner of Brigade of his decision to trade up to the Q-Store format. “We were already allotting over 50 percent of our open-to-buy to G-Star.”
About 1,100 square feet of the 2,700-square-foot store is dedicated to G-Star. Brigade moved from a smaller location in Cleveland Heights to make room for the Q-Store system. O’Neill said G-Star and Brigade split 50-50 the initial costs of installing the Q-Store system in the store.
“It’s become a real partnership with them. We have access to their full inventory now, a denim replenishment program that we did not have before and we can trade a percentage of unsold merchandise back at the end of the season,” said O’Neill.
Brigade operates a second location in Columbus, Ohio, and may upgrade that store to a Q-Store if the Beachwood Place store does well. Other Q-Store concepts are planned for San Francisco and Atlanta specialty retailers later this year.
G-Star franchises all of its retail locations, apart from one company-owned store in Amsterdam. There are currently 246 G-Star stores worldwide, including 13 in the U.S., operated by local partners such as Denim Wall, Grey Group, IK Retail and Swimming Horses.
G-Star’s business plan calls for 50 stores in the U.S. and 750 stores globally by 2015. The company has decided to cancel its runway presence at New York Fashion Week after nine seasons to focus resources on trade shows, opening new franchise stores and expanding online activity. It will stage its next big-budget runway show at the Bread & Butter Berlin show in July.