MONTREAL — Spanish specialty chain Mango has begun its assault on North America with the opening of three stores in Toronto, and the first U.S. store is to open in Santa Monica, Calif., in November.
The company, which has about 850 stores in 80 countries, plans 25 Canadian stores within the next five to six years and 200 to 250 in the U.S., said Jose Gomez, vice president of Mango’s North American expansion team.
“We’ve waited long enough to open here,” Gomez said. “This is the last frontier.”
The Toronto stores are located in the Yorkdale Shopping Center, the Eaton Centre Shopping Galleria and the Sherway Garden Shopping Center. A store in the Centre Rockland in Montreal is to make its debut soon.
After it opens an 8,000-square-foot flagship in Santa Monica, Mango plans to follow with a store in Los Angeles, as well as units in Seattle, Washington and San Juan, Puerto Rico, next spring. The first of several New York stores are planned to launch in the second half of next year. Specific locations were not disclosed.
Mango decided to open in California first because the state has a similar climate to Spain, where the first company store opened in 1964 in Barcelona, Mango’s headquarters.
The company has grown rapidly in recent years, opening 16 units in Spain and 71 around the world in 2004. Sales grew 5.3 percent to $1.43 billion last year, while gross margins were up 4.5 percent. Sales are projected to reach $1.51 billion this year.
Mango targets the 18-to-35 age group with five collections, and sells T-shirts and tops for around $20, pants for $90 and jackets for $250. It also sells fashion accessories, including belts, hats, sunglasses and footwear, which account for 12 percent of sales. Mango’s fall trends feature Victorian, Military, Eastern Folk and Retro Seventies styles.
Stores average 6,000 square feet, although the largest in the chain is 25,000 square feet on Oxford Street in London.
The company doesn’t have its own manufacturing facilities, sourcing mainly in China, India, Africa and Eastern Europe.
“We have over 1,300 different styles in our collections, which we sell around the world, but we’ll adjust to suit certain trends, climates and cultures,” Gomez said. “We try to make designs global, but we sell long skirts in the Middle East where they’re not allowed to show their legs. Those skirts may or may not show up elsewhere in our other stores.”
While Mango shares the same demographics as Gap, Banana Republic and Abercrombie & Fitch, it comes down to the collections, Gomez said.
“We offer very fashionable products with excellent quality,” he said. “We’re also price competitive. We have to be to get the sales volumes that we have.”
Stores are corporately owned and franchised. In Europe, most of the stores are located on the street, but in the U.S., they will primarily be in malls, except in cities such as New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami.