PRINGLE COOKS UP A MAJOR RETAIL ROLLOUT
Byline: Samantha Conti
LONDON — Pringle has started its luxury retail push.
The Scottish knitwear company announced plans to open its first-ever flagship on Bond Street in September — in the former Emporio Armani space — and one in Tokyo later this year. Over the next three years, it plans to open 12 units in other major cities around the world — including New York.
In addition, the company has hired Bill Christie, a former Burberry executive, to be its first head of retail.
“Opening stores is a major step for us. It is fundamental that we communicate with the customers directly and allow them to shop in the Pringle environment,” said Kim Winser, Pringle’s chief executive officer, who is spearheading the relaunch of the 187-year-old company.
“We’re not planning to build a huge retail chain. We just want to have flagships in select cities worldwide,” she told WWD in a telephone interview.
Pringle’s new store on Bond Street will span 5,000 square feet and open its doors during London fashion week in September. Winser said she is mulling the idea of holding a fashion show to mark the opening.
As reported, Pringle’s retail push is part of an overall plan to rejuvenate the brand, which was purchased by the Fang Brothers of Hong Kong in February 2000. Since then, the company has dissolved its licensing agreements and repositioned Pringle in the U.K.
Winser said Pringle would open a store at Heathrow Airport in May and was scouting for a space on Sloane Street. She said the company was “actively looking” for retail space in Manhattan and Milan, too. “It’s going to take time. We want to be in the key fashion districts of the major cities.”
Pringle plans to invest approximately $43 million over the next three years on retail expansion, Winser said.
The new stores will carry the full range of Pringle products — and then some. In addition to Grey Label, the company’s top line, the stores will offer cashmere and cotton knitwear, children’s clothing, home textiles, accessories — including knitted and leather bags — and new products developed especially for the stores.
“We already have a development wing in our factory that’s going to be specialized in small runs for the stores,” Winser said.
Christie, who was formerly head of men’s licensed product at Burberry and who has worked for Harrods and Aquascutum, said his plan is to revive Pringle’s “glamour period” within the stores. “It means evoking the feel of Hollywood in the Forties and Fifties, when twinsets and pearls were the rage.”
He said he was thinking about doing a wall covered in Pringle’s updated twinsets in two dozen colors. He said the store would reflect “Pringle’s authenticity, but also its young British street feel.”
The stores will be designed by the London-based architects Wells MacKereth — who also worked on the hip hotel West Street here. Winser said the stores’ design “will transmit Pringle’s heritage and authenticity, but in a contemporary way.”