PARIS — “Our client likes to have a paper in the hand, shop in stores and buy online,” said Marc Ménasé, founder of MenInvest, owner of Menlook, France’s leading men’s wear e-tailer, which as part of its strategy to fortify its position as a multichannel retailer has launched a biannual newspaper, the Menlook Tribune.
Produced in partnership with French magazine publisher Editions Jalou, the first issue will be released as a supplement to the May edition of Editions Jalou men’s magazine L’Optimum, with a run of 70,000 copies. Starting in May, Menlook customers will also receive a copy packed with their orders.
Along with the launch of the international English-language version of its site in November, a network of small service-oriented brick-and-mortar stores, which generate less than 4 percent of sales, form part of Menlook’s growth strategy, serving as pick-up and return points for online orders and locations for meet-and-greets with clients and VIPs. The brand, which so far has three stores, including a newly opened pint-size site in the trendy North Marais district, plans to open stores in key cities throughout Europe by summer 2013, Ménasé said, describing it as a “think global, act local,” approach to business. The company is also looking to develop mobile commerce and this season launched a private label line, Menlook Label.
Positioned as an affordable sportswear line, the collection, which goes from accessories — such as scarves and espadrilles — to outerwear, is produced in Europe. “We figured that if the collection was of bad quality we would lose clients both for the line and for the site,” said Ménasé, adding that the idea is to grow the line out into a full wardrobe.
Menlook is France’s leading men’s wear e-tailer in terms of unique visitors and the number of brands sold, totaling around 200, he said.
Declining to disclose exact figures, Ménasé said sales in the first quarter of 2012 increased 324 percent year-on-year.
For Ménasé, the site’s strength is its high-low mix of brands. “In the men’s market, doing too much premium is a mistake,” he said. Brands include Jil Sander, Kenzo, Pretty Green, Grenson and Rag & Bone, with Carven among additions for fall. Menlook regularly does collaborations with designers, such as its Misericordia x Menlook line this spring.
MenInvest, which operates fashion, digital, e-commerce and media activities focused on men, counts two main investor funds: AXA Private Equity and Partech International. Ménasé said he expects to finalize a capital increase with an undisclosed partner next month.