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UK stockists under review by Longchamp

Luxury accessories label Longchamp is reviewing its UK stockists to ensure a consistent brand message across the country.

Speaking exclusively to Drapers for the first time since his appointment as UK general manager, Paul Lorraine said Longhamp was not necessarily planning to reduce its overall stockist count – currently at 77 in the UK – but wanted to ensure each account was there “on merit”.

“Our focus has to be on the overall presentation of the brand and stores have to meet our expectations in order to have consistency across the label,” Lorraine said.

“We are looking at developing seamlessness in brand distribution and controlling where and how the product is displayed with regards to wholesale. When it comes to luxury, less is definitely more. If a store is not in line with the brand message, we have to review it.”

Lorraine, who joined Longchamp in August, highlighted its Regent Street flagship store as a benchmark for stockists to strive towards in terms of visual merchandising, branding and fixtures and fittings.

The Regent Street store opened on September 14.

“The flagship store is a window into the brand, it embodies everything Longchamp is about,” said Lorraine. “It also benefits our wholesale clients as it raises the profile of the brand and really sums up its dynamism.”

Including Regent Street, the French brand has three standalone stores in the UK – the others are in Westfield London and Bond Street, which is closed for refurbishment and will reopen in July 2014, following an extension of 1,184 sq ft, taking it up to 2,583 sq ft.

While Lorraine would not disclose the wholesale to retail turnover ratio within the UK, he said the brand was “moving towards the 50/50 mark” in terms of total turnover.

Longchamp is on the lookout for strategic locations in major cities across the UK to showcase its full range including clothing, footwear and bags, although it will focus on existing stores in the short term.

“We are learning what our UK customer wants from the new store, but with due diligence we will have a major footprint in the UK,” said Lorraine.

“The UK has always been a strong market for us thanks to our wholesale partners and it’s because of this we have had the confidence to expand our own retail footprint.”

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