The Mango flagship in Lisbon.

Some retailers throw a party to celebrate a milestone. Mango builds a flagship.

The Barcelona-based company recently marked the 25th anniversary of the inaugural Mango store in Portugal by opening a 14,000-square-foot flagship in Lisbon’s Praça Restauradores, one of the busiest shopping locations in the Portuguese capital.

The flagship represents an initiative called the Line, which unites all of Mango’s collections for men, women and kids’ under one technology-enhanced roof. “This is the most relevant store in the market,” said Mango vice president Daniel López. “The main purpose of stores is reinforcing the brand and providing consumers with the opportunity to really feel the products.”

The Line store isn’t “only about garments, it’s about the brand,” López said. “We’ve been exclusively women’s wear-driven. We recently launched men’s and kids’, which are growing very rapidly. These stores are helping us grow the other categories. Also, in markets where Mango’s popularity is very low, opening stores is reinforcing the brand, as well.”

As many retailers shutter stores, Mango is building large units like the Lisbon flagship. “Today we have about 200 of those, which account for 30 percent of our total selling surface,” López said, referring to the prototype. “Our plan is to continue. Most of the time, we’re opening new stores, and sometimes replacing some smaller ones.

According to López, 80 percent of Mango’s turnover is European-centered, including Russia and Turkey, while the Far East and Middle East are growing regions.

“In North America and the U.S., we have a city strategy. For the moment, we’re centered in New York,” López said, noting that Mango’s existing SoHo store was refurbished in September. “We’ll be opening more stores in 2018 than [the 17] we opened in 2017. We have an average of very few stores per market in the U.S., so we still have a lot to do.”

Teatro Edén, the Art Deco-style building that houses the new flagship in Lisbon, was designed by Cassiano Branco and Carlo Florencio Dias in 1931. The store’s exterior, with its bas-relief carvings of movie scenes such as a cameraman filming two lovers, provide a counterpoint to the modern and clean-lined interior design of the technology-enhanced flagship.

The Mango flagship in Lisbon.

The Mango flagship in Lisbon.  Courtesy Photo

Features of the flagship include WiFi and a click and collect system. “We have digital dressing rooms where the consumer can request different sizes and the stock people can bring sizes immediately,” said López. “We’re providing this cool aspect.

“We’re putting the consumer at the center of the equation,” López continued. “Today, the consumer is touching the brand discretionally in many places: mobile, tablet, Instagram, magazines and stores. What we’re working toward is to provide a consistent experience for the consumer. The Lisbon flagship is one of the examples.”

While clearly proud of the Lisbon store, López admitted, “there’s many things we can’t achieve online, yet it’s the future. However, there are many things that are possible that allow the consumer to touch the brand and understand its DNA.”

“We’re very active on traditional and mobile and our Web site,” López said, adding that the fact that so many consumers are exposed to Mango “is fantastic news. The contact with consumers is much more democratic than before. They can get in touch with the brand much more often and much more freely. That’s why we have to provide the physical stores with something that is much more experiential than before.”

In Mango’s case, a magnificent freestanding staircase, unusually high ceilings and rotating art exhibits qualify. “The staircase weighs 7,495 tons of steel and is 33 feet high,” López said. “Lisbon is going through an outstanding cultural movement and the building is an historic image of the city.”

Mango collaborated with five artists: Ricardo Fumanal, Kruella D’Enfer, Jordi Labanda, Chidy and Wayne and Tamara Alves. The artists reinterpreted the flagship’s facade in their trademark styles. Their work adorns the building.

“As it is a flagship, the store will receive more premium fashion and on-trend selection of items than the general collection,” López said. “In terms of materials and decorative features, it’s a cut above all else because this special store opening commemorates 25 years of Mango in Portugal.”

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