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Exclusive: Claret Showroom plots US expansion

The founders of Drapers award-winning agency Claret Showroom are set to expand their showroom portfolio and are eyeing up locations in the US. 

Claire Spencer-Churchill and Alexandra Lyles currently have one showroom in Shepherd’s Bush, west London.  

The womenswear agency is planning to launch a permanent showroom in New York in 2020, featuring around 10 different brands. 

Despite Brexit concerns they will stock mostly British labels, including fake fur brand Urbancode and knitwear company Madeleine Thompson

Lyles told Drapers: ”The British brands we have chosen so far are quite winter-heavy and so they would work well in New York, as temperatures tend to be colder on the east coast. We are also comfortable and familiar with the products but still need to decide on other brands. 

“We have chosen to wait until 2020 to open the space because it is sensible time-wise with Brexit around the corner. It also gives us plenty of time to get the brands right and ensure that it works properly. 

“If the showroom space we find has a sufficient passing trade then we can use it as a retail pop-up space in between wholesale sales campaigns. It would be a great way for British brands to get a direct feel for the market there – getting direct feedback from consumers.

”If the store in New York works well then we will maybe open a second permanent space in Los Angeles. We sell at landed prices and already have a back office in New Jersey, so these expansions could work really well for us.” 

Lyles and Spencer-Churchill have projected a 57% increase in sales across the showroom for 2019, largely down to the popularity of premium Australian brand Misha Collection. 

Claret Showroom, set up in 2006, was named Fashion Distributor of the Year at the Drapers Independents Awards in 2016 for its “clear niche, impressive financials and an excellent reputation”.

The agency also founded resortwear trade show Splash Paris in 2016. 

Read the Drapers Interview with Lyles and Spencer-Churchill.

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