GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Desigual hopes to operate 450 Latin American doors in two years, with many new units set to open in Mexico.
“This year, we will have five stand-alones and five shops-in-shop in Mexico where we are new and expect a lot of growth,” the firm’s head of Latin American, Horacio Broggi, told WWD on the sidelines of the Intermoda apparel fair.
He said Desigual will open shops in Mexico City’s Perisur mall and in luxury shopping center Antara this fall, capping openings in the Toreo mall as well as in Guadalajara and Querétaro earlier this year.
The Barcelona-based brand intends to install five shops-in-shop in El Palacio de Hierro’s department-store network in the second half. The doors will be located in the chain’s Mexico City stores in La Roma, Satelite and Acoxpa as well as in Querétaro and Cancun.
The expansion will boost Desigual’s regional count to 298 points of sale of which 29 are stand-alone stores, 27 shops-in-shop and the remainder in multibrand retailers.
In the next two years, the firm plans to operate 450 doors, of which 45 will be stand-alone units, 53 corners and the rest wholesale, Broggi revealed. He said the company will own about 80 percent of its stand-alone outlets while 20 percent will be franchised, in line with the current operating model.
More shops will open in Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Chile, Peru and Uruguay where the chain is present and in other unspecified locations, Broggi said. He added that Brazil won’t be a big near-term focus.
“We are there, but the market is complex and they have a strong crisis,” Broggi said.
Latin America and Asia make up the lion’s share of future growth opportunities for the Spanish chain, where sales rose around 20 percent last year to 964 million euros, or $1.1 billion, mirroring similar gains in recent years. More than 80 percent of the fashion brand’s doors are located in Europe, followed by Latin America, Asia and the U.S.
Broggi said Desigual’s image as a “happy brand eliciting positive emotions” strikes a chord with Latin American consumers, who have a strong affinity with Spanish culture.
“They understand it [our philosophy] very well,” Broggi said, adding that the chain is performing well in Chile, Peru and Uruguay.
He said Desigual’s image sets it apart from rivals such as Inditex’s Zara, which has become ubiquitous in the region. The brands multichannel strategy, which has a big airport and travel retail component, is also a major differentiator.
Currently, Desigual operates around 14,000 doors worldwide, of which 530 are freestanding shops, 2,500 corners and the rest wholesale.
“We are not fast fashion or big retail,” Broggi said. “We are a multichannel brand. When a woman spends 500 euros [$541], we want to capture most of that money through unique product and design.”
Apart from bright and eccentric colors, Desigual brings unique prints to its collections, with some items refreshed every 20 days. Broggi noted that Desigual’s apparel prices are roughly 30 percent higher than Zara’s.
“Our brand is more aspirational, especially in Latin America,” he claimed.