RODIER TO OPEN UP ITS DISTRIBUTION

Byline: Sharon Edelson

NEW YORK — Rodier Paris, which operates 34 company-owned stores in the U.S., plans to take its distribution to a new level by introducing its collection in selected department and specialty stores.
Ken Mizel, president and chief executive officer of Rodier USA, said the company has had preliminary meetings with Nordstrom and intends to talk to other retailers after the first of the year.
“We really want to push the distribution through Nordstrom’s or Saks Fifth Avenue or Neiman Marcus,” Mizel said. “I think that’s really a way for us to continue to grow and increase awareness of the Rodier name. It’s such a big part of our business in other parts of the world.”
Mizel said the company hopes to do between $3 million and $5 million in wholesale business in 1996.
He said Rodier would sell to chains with stores in proximity to Rodier’s own stores.
“As you look around in today’s world, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren have stores,” Mizel said. “There’s no reason the two can’t coexist. We’d be willing to work up special colors and special silhouettes for other stores.”
To aid with the wholesale distribution strategy, Rodier hired Tiffany Hansen as merchandising manager for U.S. operations.
Currently an independent merchandising consultant, Hansen was a buyer for the Oregon region of Nordstrom.
In the past two years, Rodier has shaken off its staid look with the help of a new design team in France. As a result, sales have soared, Mizel said, noting that volume is up in the high single digits and margins are ahead by double digits over last year.
The company is scheduled to open a new flagship at Fifth Avenue and 49th Street here in March. The store, which will be 1,500 square feet, will replace an existing store on Fifth Avenue near 47th Street, which is about the same size.
Mizel said the new store, in Rockefeller Center, is a better location. It will represent the company’s new retail prototype, which features bird’s-eye maple paneling, terra-cotta floors and a 12-foot coffered ceiling.

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