Journelle, at nearly 10, finds itself making its way to the West Coast.
The multibrand lingerie retailer is set to open a 1,500-square-foot store at Westfield Century City Thursday. This adds to the company’s existing stable of stores consisting of three in Manhattan and one in Chicago.
“Our customer is a fashion-focused woman. She’s confident. She’s beautiful. She’s got higher purchasing power. She could be a professional woman. She could be somebody who doesn’t work right now. She spans a lot of different [groups] but L.A. had the flavor and the vibe that I know will resonate,” said Journelle chief executive officer Lyn Lewis.
That the firm, which saw a majority investment from Swiss intimates company Triumph International in 2012, tapped Westfield Century City as its first door in the region marks a shift from its typical street retail locales. That move is strategic, Lyn said.
“We’re street retail everywhere else. It’s more my flavor because I’m a New Yorker, but to get to the level of traffic that we know we need as a so-far unknown brand here, it’s got to be in the malls or centers,” she said.
The retailer, when it thinks about new locations, has an “if you build it, they will come” mentality, the ceo explained.
The company also liked the tenant mix and the direction Westfield Century City is going, with its major renovation nearly complete. Journelle will sit just outside of Bloomingdale’s at the center.
The store will carry the company’s private-label line, which was launched two years ago as a complement to the 60 to 70 other brands the retailer carries, which includes Dita Von Teese, Eberjey, L’Agent and Cosabella.
Private label accounts for about a quarter of the company’s overall sales, making it its own largest brands. The line is direct-to-consumer.
“I don’t want private label to grow that much bigger because that diversity [of brands] needs to be there for our customers,” the ceo said.
Still, the company does not appear to have entirely ruled out the possibility of wholesaling the line, but it’s a whole other business model, Lyn said, that brings to the surface new questions of staffing, logistics and what retailer partners would be best to work with.
Century City is expected to be followed by a new Union Square location in New York that will see the addition of more fitting rooms. The New York door is a relocation from what will be the company’s old space across the street with the move expected to be completed some time next month. Additional locations are being considered for the West Coast and elsewhere, although Lyn was unable to provide specifics citing pending lease negotiations, but said the company has looked at markets such as Boston, Dallas, Houston and San Francisco. The growth will be tempered largely because there’s no interest by management to create a retail chain.
“We will never have 100 stores across the country,” Lyn said. “That is not possible right now at our price point, so we know we want to be in major metropolitan cities.”
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