G-Star is to launch a 5D denim range - a next generation move on from its highly successful 3D line - in a bid to double turnover and claw back market share in the premium denim market.
The brand, whose pioneering 3D styles, including its best-selling Ellwood jean, use unusual twisted seam placements to create sculpted silhouettes, will launch its 5D designs for autumn 11. It will also scale back G-Star branding on the product. The 5D launch is thought to have been prompted after G-Star suffered a raft of copycats on the high street and lost some ground to rival denim brands.
Jonas Bach, sales director for the UK and Scandinavia, said: “We are going back to our main values, which is [product] that is raw, pure and functional. There is an emphasis on innovation.”
He would not go into detail about how the 5D collection would differ from 3D designs but said he hoped the strategy would prompt shoppers to trade up, instead ofjust buying into the brand at entry level. “Instead of selling 100,000 T-shirts, we are going to put our focus on selling 100,000 jackets,” he said.
Speaking exclusively to Drapers, Bach also said G-Star was in talks to open three franchise stores in Glasgow, Manchester and on London’s Oxford Street in the coming months, and reiterated plans to double its UK retail presence from 25 to 50 stores by 2015.
Earlier this week, G-Star effectively split the job of UK sales manager, formerly held by Tom Duncan, and made Duncan responsible for delivering the growth of the franchise operation in the new role of retail manager.
Nathan Ness, a former sales manager at beer brand Heineken UK, has been appointed as country manager for the UK and Republic of Ireland and handed responsibility for G-Star’s wholesale operation. He will also manage the sales team on a day-to-day basis and
help to appoint new staff to work alongside the existing two showroom managers.
The recruits are expected to be in place by the start of May. G-Star was also in final negotiations to appoint a senior sales manager for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as Drapers went to press.
Bach said: “It’s all about growth, and having the [right] product in the market. That’s something that has slipped a bit in the past. We will continue our search for the ideal partners - multi-brand chains and department stores.
“We need a UK structure that is a team made up of experts in their [respective] positions. One of our strengths has always been the fact we listened hard to our customers and my feeling is that we’d stopped doing that for a while.”