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Coach Opens Ambitiously in Paris
September 01st, 2010 @ 00:26 AM - Paris
“Think of it as our beachhead in Europe,” explained Coach’s senior executive Ian Bickley at the opening of the US label’s first Europe boutique in Paris on Tuesday night.
And think it of it as a major luxury development, since the New York based firm has set itself ambitious targets here – 500 million euros in turnover within five years in Western Europe.
Coach’s first European store is located in Printemps, the French department store chain, whose key flagship is in central Paris, on boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondissement. Comprising some 100 square meters, or 1,100 square-feet, the Coach shop-in-shop is placed right beside a main entrance and across the aisle from Prada no less.
“We are the market leader in United States in the premium quality bags and accessories market, and we believe we can win five percent of that market in Europe within the next five years,” predicted Bickley, Coach’s President International, who added that the brand will retail in a mix of fully-owned boutiques, shop-in-shops and department store distribution throughout Europe, the same strategy it has employed in the US and Asia.
“We like our costumers to be able to find us easily. And we like to create an inviting space with friendly staff,” added Bickley, as he sipped on a glass of French champagne.
To celebrate the opening, Coach took over three windows in the Printemps flagship, featuring its products and a massive Pop graffiti homage to New York. The brand’s French opening coincided with the store’s special sales drive entitled, “Printemps Love New York,” which featured a New York Pop Up boutique offering even foods, including Paul Newman sauces and Dean & Deluca pasta. The main window highlighted four Coach bags priced from 405 euros to 265 euros, or $520 to $340.
Remarkably for such a large brand - Coach posted annual sales of some $3.5 billion in the latest financial year – the company has been virtually invisible in Western Europe. One small local retailer in Paris, a mini multi-brand boutique called Kam's, retailed Coach, in effect protecting the brand’s name from being registered by any rival entrepreneur, a not infrequent problem for luxury brands who have not entered France.
Coach now plans to open some 14 boutiques in Printemps’ chain across France in the next three years, according to Christophe Chaix, a Frenchman who is Coach’s Vice President International Sales.
“We are also planning two free standing stores in London, and a series of in-store boutiques with El Corte Ingles,” added Chaix, referring to Spain’s leading department store chain.
Asked why Coach had decided to partner with Printemps rather than it’s rival Galeries Lafayette, whose flagship is located right next door, Chaix replied: “One key attraction is that while Paris is a remarkable international shopping destination for tourists; Printemps at the same time is a far more French store in terms of traffic by French people. That felt like a good way to let France know who Coach is and that we have arrived.”