Kate Spade is testing the international waters.
The company will unleash a pop-up store in Covent Garden in London on Wednesday through Nov. 10. Situated in a Georgian town house at 7 Henrietta St., the 2,700-square-foot boutique will feature the entire Kate Spade collection, including handbags, luggage, shoes, jewelry, stationery, eyewear, apparel and at-homewear, as well as dishes, artwork and furnishings. There will also be a selection of exclusive merchandise. The London pop-up will kick-off with a launch party on Wednesday, hosted by Deborah Lloyd, president and chief creative officer of the brand.
“It’s a new market for us,” said Craig Leavitt, chief executive officer of Kate Spade. “We wanted to take the opportunity in advance of opening a regular store to get the product in front of the consumer and the opinion leaders in the marketplace.” Leavitt said he hopes by next spring/summer to have a full-lease store in London. “We want to understand the consumer needs, and we’ll use the U.K. store as a launching pad to move into continental Europe.” Leavitt said the firm is targeting France and Germany at the onset, and anticipates it will have stores throughout most of Europe over the next several years.
In addition, Kate Spade will open a full-lease store in São Paulo, Brazil, on Oct. 28, marking the launch of Kate Spade South America. The São Paulo store, located at Rua Bela Cintra, 2182, is the company’s initial step toward increasing its presence in South American countries such as Argentina, Chile and Columbia. The Brazilian store will be celebrated with an opening reception Oct. 28 in São Paulo.
“We’re going to focus first on São Paolo, followed by Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro,” said Leavitt. Then it will expand to other Brazilian cities, before opening in other South American cities.
Currently, Kate Spade has 90 stores in Asia, and 37 in the U.S. Some 25 to 30 percent of the business is generated by apparel, growing virtually from zero a year ago, said Leavitt.