Sequential Brands Group has initiated the expansion of the Ellen Tracy brand into Europe.
The label is available on an exclusive basis via shop-in-shops in select House of Fraser stores and online. The first branded shop is at House of Fraser’s Oxford Street flagship in London. Other locations for the initial group of shop-in-shops include Belfast, Glasgow, Manchester and Guildford. The rollout to other House of Fraser stores will occur in the spring.
According to Rick Platt, division president of lifestyle at Sequential, the exclusivity commitment with House of Fraser is for one year. He said there are discussions with Sanpower Group about the possibility that the brand could also be in House of Fraser stores in Asia in May or June. Chinese conglomerate Sanpower Group, through its subsidiary Nanjing Cenbest, acquired an 89 percent stake in the British retailer in April 2014. Nanjing Cenbest has plans to open three House of Fraser stores this year and up to 50 in Asia over the next five years. Established in 1849, House of Fraser is the oldest department store in Great Britain, while Nanjing Cenbest — founded in 1952 — is among China’s 10 largest department stores.
The deal with House of Fraser took 18 months to negotiate, Platt said. Sequential is planning to take the brand to other countries in Europe, and is eyeing retailers in Germany, Italy and Spain, he said.
“Europe is an important market for brand growth and sets the stage for a planned 2016 rollout of branded shops in better department and specialty stores domestically and in Canada,” Platt said.
Nigel Oddy, chief executive officer of House of Fraser, said, “With a reputation built on polished and dynamic aesthetics, Ellen Tracy’s fall collection is already proving to be a great success with our customers.”
The brand began its foray into international waters earlier this year when it became available at The Bay in Canada.
The House of Fraser shop-in-shops average 500 to 750 square feet. Shop-in-shops in the U.S. and Canada, with about the same square footage, are planned for spring at Lord & Taylor, Dillard’s and The Bay.
Sequential updated its marketing for the Ellen Tracy brand earlier this year, with its “Women Hyphenated” campaign featuring Paula Patton. Global Brands Group has the license for Ellen Tracy sportswear, while G-III Apparel Group has the license for dresses and coats.