Accelerating its already aggressive global rollout, Joe Fresh will open locations in Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador starting next spring.
This story first appeared in the November 12, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Over the next five years, Joe Fresh, based in Canada where it is a division of Loblaw Companies, sees up to 84 locations operating in Mexico and the five Central American countries, including standalone stores and shops-in-shop.
The latest leg in the international expansion will happen via two separate partnerships. The one in Mexico is with El Palacio de Hierro, the upscale, 13-unit department store chain which is also expanding with two locations. In 2015, El Palacio plans to open a minimum of five freestanding Joe Fresh locations as well as four shops-in-shop for the women’s collection and five for the children’s wear collection. Within the next seven years, El Palacio sees 25 freestanding stores as well as 42 shops-in-shop (14 each in women’s, men’s and children’s).
In Central America, the partner is Euromoda, a unit of Eurocomer Group. Euromoda will open a minimum of three freestanding units in 2015 and a total of 17 by 2019. Euromoda also operates Aldo and Mango shops in Central America.
Last February, Joe Fresh signed agreements with Origin & Co. Ltd. for South Korea and with Fawaz Alhokair Group for 16 markets in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, and with Retail Arabia International for five markets in the Middle East. So far, Origin has opened five stores, and Alhokair has opened three. Joe Fresh has extensive distribution in Canada and the U.S., via Loblaw, J.C. Penney and its own stores.
In other growth moves, Joe Fresh recently launched its children’s line and e-commerce in the U.S.
Aside from Mexico and Central America, “We are looking at the rest of Latin America, but I have to say our plate is pretty full right now,” said Mario Grauso, the president of Joe Fresh. “We have a couple of more deals in draft and we continue to talk to people. It takes awhile to put these agreements together.”
Grauso said that the team is going through plans to determine locations and layouts. “There are always going to be floor plan nuances but the basic design is the same,” from location to location.
So is the merchandising, though in the warmest climates, some outerwear and cashmere might be excluded. “For the most part, it’s the exact same assortment,” Grauso said. “The concept that Joe put together is understandable for a lot of regions,” Grauso said, referring to Joe Mimran, the president of Joseph Mimran & Associates and the creative director of Joe Fresh. “Every brand concept can’t go as broad as this concept.”
With El Palacio de Hierro, “It’s exciting to see a luxury department store offer a lower price point to their consumer,” Grauso said. “It’s a modern way to shop, mixing high-low within one store’s assortment.”
“We have an aggressive growth strategy for the next three years, opening freestanding boutiques with all of the brand’s product categories within the country’s most important shopping malls and in our department stores,” said Jose Maria Blanco Alonso, the chief executive officer of El Palacio.