DE LA RENTA TOPS $2M WITH BERGDORF SHOW

Byline: Eric Wilson

NEW YORK — Oscar de la Renta broke a Bergdorf Goodman record on Friday, topping $2.25 million in sales during a trunk show for his fall collection.
The weeklong event easily bested all prior sales promotions for the store, including de la Renta’s own records there, and indicates that the seasonal bully match of trunk shows between the major luxury retailers in New York is picking up some of the steam that was lost after Sept. 11.
“This is the biggest thing we’ve ever had in the store,” said Ron Frasch, chairman and chief executive officer of Bergdorf Goodman, noting that the de la Renta tally had beat the store’s plan and that selling was continuing throughout the day on Friday. Bergdorf’s and Saks Fifth Avenue typically compete heavily during trunk show season to woo a core group of clients that place large orders for their wardrobes a season in advance, with de la Renta’s being among the most important resources for such events, along with Bill Blass, Carolina Herrera, Akris and Giorgio Armani.
Through targeted marketing and advertising for such events, $1 million-plus trunk shows have become more common in the past few years, with de la Renta reporting a $1.6 million event at Bergdorf’s last June, about a month after Bill Blass designer Lars Nilsson sold $1 million at the store. That same season, for fall 2001, the Blass collection set what is believed to be the standing trunk show record for the city with a $2.6 million, weeklong event at Saks. The de la Renta fall collection is headed to Saks from April 29 to May 3. He’s slated to appear for the launch of his fragrance on April 30, while the Blass fall collection bows there today, with an appearance by Nilsson on Tuesday, followed by a Bergdorf show May 13-17.
“The collection is selling quite well across the board,” de la Renta said on Friday. “It’s exciting because when people are whining about business, this shows it’s great. This is the kind of boost that we need.”
While Frasch considered the results to be astounding — more than 10 percent over the store’s plan of $2 million — he stopped short of calling them prophetic. During the week, the store sold more than a dozen of de la Renta’s embroidered jackets and five fur-trimmed coats at $11,000 apiece, he said.
Meanwhile, at Saks, de la Renta’s spring merchandise has also been performing at a strong pace, having racked up $1.2 million in sales nationwide on Thursday, the designer added.
“The business has been doing very well,” said a Saks spokesman. “We’re having a really good spring season.”
The strong results are partly attributable to the consistently strong collections de la Renta has been turning out for the past three years, Frasch added, noting that “the fall collection was so exquisite.”
“We set a very high goal, and we beat it,” Frasch said. “The collection was as good a collection as Oscar has done in a long time. We’ve worked hard to develop the Oscar business, with a new boutique we built about a year ago and by marketing the brand aggressively. The organizations worked really hard together to make this happen, and it doesn’t just happen overnight. We got the whole store involved.”

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