By Mario Toneguzzi
A successful launch of its new global concept store in Toronto has given fashion retailer Lacoste Canada a vision to open other similar flagship stores in Vancouver and Montreal over the next two years.
“It’s quite different. We’ve invested a lot in the new concept. We want to be more linked with our DNA and with our history,” said Brasset. “It’s why we decided now to launch this new concept last year in France and now we’re already opened over the last few months 14 doors around the world with the key concept.
“For us it’s a boutique but it’s also a tennis club. It’s also very focused on the Polo business and also we are trying to have a real customer experience and it’s focused on different things. First an omni channel approach which means that you can order your Polo on ecommerce . . . and you can pick it up one hour later at our boutiques. Also, we decided on this new concept to launch Polo customization. For the same price, you can add on your Polo your initials or something like that. You will have a unique Polo.”
Brasset said Toronto is the company’s main business in Canada, representing about 60 per cent of its sales in the country. That’s why it was chosen as the first new concept store in Canada.
“We would like to launch this new concept in the next two years in Vancouver and one in Montreal,” said Brasset. “It is our flagship. We will have three flagships.”
The new concept store in Toronto was opened in an existing store. It moved from one space to another in Yorkdale. The store in Montreal will be in an existing location but Vancouver will be a new store in the downtown core.
The first Lacoste store in Canada opened about 25 years ago in Montreal. Currently there are 12 boutique stores across Canada and five outlets. There are also many wholesale stores like Golf Town. It operates its ecommerce site as well.
The successful international brand was co-founded in France by tennis player René Lacoste. The chain known for Polo shirts sells men’s and women’s apparel, accessories, leather goods and sportswear.
Brasset said that besides the additional flagship store in Vancouver he doesn’t anticipate the company will expand the number of other stores it has in Canada.
“We’re thinking we have the right footprint. We don’t want to expand but we don’t also want to close. We are thinking that even if we don’t want to expand the number of stores we can continue to grow our business and also we are thinking for ecommerce we can continue to develop the business and for sure with our main partners like Sporting Life, the Bay, Simons we can continue to develop the business because the business is not only boutique it’s also the business we are doing with our main partners around Canada,” he said.
Brasset said the new concept will help create a stronger brand identity for Lacoste.
“We need to have a story around our products. That’s why this concept is very focused on our story and on our DNA. To be sure that when the customer arrives in this boutique and new concept they understand very quickly that we are a tennis and golf brand . . . because this year for us is our 85th anniversary. It’s a brand with a strong story that has invested a lot in a new concept and a new approach.”
*All photos, except for the top photo, are courtesy of Elaine Fancy.
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org