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Marc Cain

A London showroom is the latest chapter in the German womenswear brand’s phenomenal rise

Walking around Marc Cain’s new showroom in Wimbledon Village, south London, it seems incredible that the German womenswear brand did not have a permanent London selling space until six months ago.

“We would bring the stock down to a temporary location in London for a few weeks during the season, or ask buyers to visit our Mawdesley showroom in Lancashire, but at the rate our UK accounts are growing I felt it was time we had one in the capital,” explains UK sales agent Chantelle Wilkinson.

On the day Drapers pays a visit the Marc Cain team is over from its German headquarters for the brand’s fashion coaching event, which was held in the new showroom the night before and was attended by more than 100 people from the brand’s stockists.

The day involved guest speakers and Marc Cain staff talking buyers and stockists through the spring 09 collection and current fashion issues. “These days are very important for us in terms of having extra contact with our stockists, and it was a great chance to show off the new showroom,” says Thomas Herter, area sales manager for Marc Cain.

The label’s recent account base expansion is impressive. When Wilkinson took over her mother’s fashion agency Finches – which has handled Marc Cain for six years – in 2006, the womenswear label had just 40 UK accounts. Today it is pushing three figures, with roughly 97 independent doors, and plans are afoot to target department stores.

Alongside the UK wholesale expansion, Marc Cain’s global vision is also ambitious.

It has 1,500 accounts and 83 mono-brand stores in 55 countries, plus a turnover that is predicted to jump from €63 million (£53.6m) in 2003 to €150m (£128m) in 2008.

Wilkinson feels that Marc Cain’s success has a lot to do with the brand’s ability to respond to the fast-fashion mentality, which is starting to permeate through from the high street to boutique shoppers. “We offer six themes in each of our two seasonal collections, and these are delivered at monthly intervals,” she says. “On top of that our Sport collection has five themes a season. So if you buy into every theme you could be receiving new product every two weeks.”

Although the thought of having three or four different stories on a rail at once may strike fear into the hearts of merchandisers, Herter explains that each theme is designed to mesh well with its overlapping ranges to avoid colour or style clashes.

Next on the agenda for Marc Cain is the opening this month of its fourth UK franchise store, in Stockport, Greater Manchester (to add to its London Notting Hill, Belfast and Jersey stores). “When it comes to franchises, it is the person we are partnering with who will make or break our decision to work with them,” says Herter. “By teaming up with people who already know and believe in the brand, we can have faith in their determination to sell Marc Cain.”

Marc Cain www.marccain.de 01704 823005

Essentials

97: Number of UK wholesale accounts
4: Number of UK franchise stores
£128m: Predicted global turnover for 2008
55: Number of countries in which Marc Cain operates

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