Wacoal has opened its first U.S. store within The Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey.
After primarily focusing on wholesale distribution within retailers including Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor and Macy’s Inc., the intimate apparel brand is venturing into its own brick-and-mortar space.
“We are growing internationally and online, but our main business is working in store with customers,” said Bob Vitale, the chief executive officer of Wacoal America. “We hear that a high percentage of shoppers don’t shop in the intimate apparel department. There are a lot of customers who aren’t seeing Wacoal. We thought this was a great way to bring our brand proposition to the customer.”
According to Vitale, department stores view the shop as something positive and the goal isn’t to take away from wholesale business but grow the business overall.
The 1,950-square-foot shop will feature Wacoal and B. Tempt’d, Wacoal’s line targeting younger customers. Vitale said they wanted to offer an elevated shopping experience and an array of product that comes in various fashion colors and is sized from A through I cup. Associates will have access to iPads so customers can order items online if they aren’t in stock.
As innerwear becomes outerwear, lingerie companies are benefiting. Vitale said overall business for 2017 was up five to six and Wacoal is considering additional stores. The categories driving growth include strapless bras, bralettes and nonwire bras.
“It’s all about comfort,” said Vitale. “It’s all about comfort. That’s the overarching trend that’s driving a lot of what we do today.”