Joe Mimran, founder of Club Monaco, Joe Fresh and Pink Tartan, is at it again.
He’s developing a new apparel brand called Dip, which will be sold at 300 Fred Meyer and Kroger Marketplace stores beginning this fall and will be the dominant fashion brand at those chains. Fred Meyer, the general merchandiser, and Kroger supermarkets are part of the Kroger Co., which operates 2,779 retail food stores under a variety of banners in 35 states and Washington D.C. and is considered the largest supermarket retailer in the U.S.
“It’s going to be a collection for the family, very easy and accessible. We call it effortless style, everyday American style and it’s certainly very affordable,” Mimran told WWD.
“I always like to start every collection with basics that have a little more to them,” said Mimran. “There will be a focus on hand feel, quality, and giving customers refuge from the chore of weekly food shopping. We are touching every single category from baby to kids to adults, from activewear and even basic underwear and hosiery as we get further into the collection.”
“We’ve worked closely with Joe and his team to develop a line of clothing that works for today’s times — easy to buy, easy to wear, and easy to love. Effortless style, every day of the week,” said Robert Clark, Kroger’s senior vice president of merchandising. “Dip will transform our apparel business, further redefining the customer experience through ‘Restock Kroger,’” the company’s strategy unveiled last October to become more consumer-centric and provide new experiences to shoppers. Dip will replace more than a dozen of the company’s private-label clothing brands, making the shopping easier. “We know customers want to quickly pop in and out of the apparel department, not spend hours browsing,” added Clark. “Great style you can just grab, go, and enjoy, at a great price — that’s the promise.”
Dip will launch with women’s, men’s, juniors, kids and baby collections and will feature galaxy, star-gazer themes, a retro sport theme, and an urban utility slant, among other themes.
“All of the price points are really sharp,” Mimran said. The everyday low pricing includes $5 camisole tops; $6 T-shirts; leggings, $6; jeggings, $14; puffer vests, $14; sweaters and sweatshirts, $16. There is also denim, including super stretch styles and different washes. For the fall season, there are 800 styles. There will be four collections a year and monthly deliveries.
At Kroger Marketplaces, Dip will occupy a total of 4,000 square feet on average per location, or about 80 percent of the apparel space. Dip merchandise will be located in different areas of Kroger Marketplace depending on the category.
At Fred Meyer, 30 percent of total apparel space with be devoted to Dip, or about 7,500 square feet.
Just as department stores with a history of focusing on fashion have in recent years been adding more food and beverage to the offering, grocery stores have been adding fashion to their offerings.
“In the U.K., fashion has been a big part of the success of the supermarkets,” Mimran said. “The idea was carried through Europe, then introduced in Canada very successfully [with Joe Fresh being sold at Loblaw’s food stores] and now we are seeing that happen in the U.S. as well.” Joe Fresh line is also available at Joe Fresh freestanding stores in Canada and online.
“Fashion is a growing category for us,” said a Kroger executive. “Kroger got into apparel when we merged in with Fred Meyer in the late Nineties.”
“Style should be fun,” said Mimran. “We believe good design can be affordable. It should fit into your life, not the other way around.”
The company chose the name Dip because it resonates with Kroger’s heritage in food and because dips are crowd-pleasers at parties and gatherings. “And it just kind of clicked,” Mimran said.