PARIS — French contemporary fashion chain Ba&sh is looking to accelerate its U.S. push with a pop-up store due to open imminently in the Miami Design District for two years, followed by a permanent unit on New York’s Madison Avenue in late November.
Pierre-Arnaud Grenade, the brand’s global chief executive officer, said the focus on the U.S., which was initiated a year ago, with a ceo — Sarah Benady — appointed at the start of the year, also comprises a “strong digital and influencer marketing” drive. The brand’s digital site will be migrating onto a new platform that will be operational in France beginning in September, with the official U.S. launch scheduled for October. “The American market is at a pivotal point with all the store closures and financial challenges and we are tailoring our strategy to account for market trends,” he said. “The full leverage for growth we have identified is digital; how to digitalize the brand, the content, the relationship with the customer.”
Known for its bohemian chic styles, the French brand also has some “strong collaborations” in the pipeline, he said, adding that founders Barbara Boccara and Sharon Krief will attend each of the store openings. “This is their baby, they live their brand. Ba&sh has the unique story of being a women-led brand. Barbara and Sharon convey a message of female independence and strength at a time when those values are at the forefront in many countries.”
L Capital, the private equity fund sponsored by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Groupe Arnault, bought 50 percent of Ba&sh in 2015 with a view to expanding the brand internationally.
Ba&sh entered Asia at the beginning of the year, with three stores in Hong Kong where it has also established its own operation and appointed a local ceo, Isolde Andouard, Grenade said. Ba&sh opened its first store in Shanghai a few weeks ago, with five more to open there in October. For the Middle East, Ba&sh is working with a local partner to open four stores in the region by the end of the year. “We want to establish a global footprint as fast as possible, but in a thoughtful way,” said Grenade.
The brand counts about 136 boutiques and shops-in-shop in total, versus around 65 in March 2015. The aim, said Grenade, is to grow to around 250 stores, with 160 the target for 2017. The U.S., China and the Middle East are the main focus markets. Retail represents around 85 percent of sales, with about 8 percent generated through online sales and the rest via the brand’s wholesale business.
As reported, L Capital, which in 2010 invested in fellow French contemporary brands Sandro and Maje and Claudie Pierlot, cashed out with Sandro/Maje in 2013, when American private equity giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. snapped up SMCP Group from L Capital and Florac for an estimated 650 million euros, or $790.1 million.