Hue is growing its retail initiative on two fronts: the U.S. and China.
The trendy legwear brand, which specializes in fashion tights, leggings and socks, opened a 210-square-foot, high-tech shop-in-shop on the mezzanine level of Macy’s Herald Square in November, and plans to roll out three additional “Huetiques” in the U.S. in 2014. The brand currently maintains 40 in-store shops and 130 soft shops nationwide, said Julia Townsend, executive vice president and general manager at parent company Kayser-Roth Corp.
“The new shop design embodies the Hue culture of color — the heartbeat of the Hue brand — and represents a benchmark for Hue shop-in-shops on a global basis,” said Townsend, noting that the in-store shop at the Macy’s flagship in New York is being supported by outdoor advertising on buses and kiosks throughout Manhattan.
The new shop design was created to enhance a shopping experience that is “fashion-forward, energetic and rooted in Hue’s New York City heritage.”
In August, Hue opened its first freestanding store in Shanghai at the Cloud Nine shopping mall. The 661-square-foot unit also embodies the brand’s new retail format of matte-and-shine textures and colors, laminated tiles, acrylic accents on fixtures, a video wall and images of Hue’s embossed flower symbol, as well as the brand’s iconic checkerboard pattern. There’s also a mannequin holding an illuminated ticker tape reader board reminiscent of the New York Stock Exchange that says something fun and whimsical like “Wear red leggings today.”
Townsend described the updated look as “simple, clean and contemporary, but also interactive and engaging…a concept that’s fashion-forward, energetic and rooted in Hue’s New York City heritage.
“We went to great trouble to make sure each material and texture was special, modern and unusual. There are 12 black 3-D cylinders on the video wall and inside each is a separate video screen with different brand images and colors. The images are not necessarily product images, but they are images that reinforce our brand DNA of color,” she explained.
Meanwhile, Townsend said the company is embarking on an aggressive retail rollout in China, where Kayser-Roth has 10 shop environments at department stores in metropolitan areas such as Beijing, Shenzhen and Chengdu. As reported, Kayser-Roth has a joint partnership with retail powerhouse E-Land Group China to launch Hue products. E-Land Fashion China operates more than 5,000 shops in Mainland China with 42 top brands, including partnerships with Kate Spade, New Balance, Berghaus, Nike Golf, Guess Jeans and Wrangler.
Regarding the profile of the Chinese consumer who buys legwear, Townsend said she is young, sophisticated and fashion savvy,
“The Chinese consumer has absolutely been responding to the Hue brand, and we’re learning a lot about her. She seems to have an appetite for colors that are bolder, and she responds even more to color than consumers in the U.S. I think it’s because she’s somewhat a younger consumer, 18 to 25 versus 20 to 40 years old,” said Townsend.
She added that 2014 will be a pivotal year for Hue in China.
“We plan to open 35 more shop-in-shops and stores in shopping malls in China, and we’ll be opening a store in Hong Kong in May,” she said.