LONDON — French label Ikks has opened its first standalone store in London on Mayfair’s South Molton Street, joining fellow contemporary brands including Maje, Sandro, Gerard Darel and Zadig & Voltaire.
Pierre-André Cauche, Ikks chief executive officer said the proximity to the other French labels, as well as the street’s intimate feel, were some of the reasons behind his choice of location.
“You’ve got very intimate, authentic premises here, no one is showing off and we are next to all our French cousins on this street. We are not a show-off company so I think it’s a good location. You’re also near Selfridges, so this is what I call a very easy and pleasant London atmosphere,” said Cauche.
The label, which initially launched with a children’s line in Paris, currently offers women’s, men’s, as well as children’s ranges.
The South Molton Street location will only carry the women’s range. Cauche explained that the brand’s policy is to always enter a new market with the women’s range first, or alternatively, with the women’s and men’s ranges for larger retail spaces.
“Due to high rents it’s easier to establish a profitable shop with an adult line. If I had a dream for our second London shop it would be that it carries both the men’s and women’s ranges. The third step would be to bring the junior line to the U.K. market,” said Cauche.
“Everybody is fond of the junior collection. The problem of junior is that the turnover per square meter is much lower than the others. So we first need to start with the adult lines before moving onto junior.”
The new space, which spans 540 square feet, has minimal, all-white interiors and is merchandised to highlight some of the brand’s most fashion-forward seasonal pieces, as well as classic items.
The spring offer that is currently in store ranges from staple items such as tailored, monochrome trousers, leather jackets and striped sweaters to more elaborate pieces including sequinned bomber jackets and fringed dresses.
Prices range from 55 pounds or $75 for a top to 350 pounds or $477 for a coat.
Ikks produces six collections per year and has a wholesale business, but retail stores also get additional injections of new product throughout the year depending on consumer demand.
According to Cauche, customers include women 25 to 55 years old.
“In London there is also a big foreign population, so we are aware that we are exposing our brand to many countries by being located here,” he added.
First-year sales for the new boutique are estimated between 800,000 pounds or $1.1 million, and 1 million pounds or $1.4 million.
Wholesale continues to be an important channel for the company, because sitting next to, and being compared to, other brands is a valuable source of feedback, said Cauche. The label is currently stocked in boutiques such as Igloo on King’s Road and Alex and Alexa, and aims to have 35 to 40 wholesale partners in the U.K.
The digital business is also strong and Cauche said Ikks has been a multichannel company from the beginning, with “digital becoming a stronger channel every year.”
The company — which currently operates a network of 750 boutiques across Germany, France, Spain and the Middle East — plans to continue expanding its retail network in the U.K. with another store, potentially opening on Chelsea’s King’s Road before the end of the year.
Cauche also highlighted the company’s goals to reach 10 stores in Germany and to continue its expansion in Spain.