Catimini owner Kidiliz expands on growth plans, wants e-sales to treble
Rémy Baume, the President of the Zannier group since 2013, has given FashionNetwork more details about the French childrenswear group's objectives. After adopting a new brand name, Kidiliz, the group is deploying a new strategy focusing on exports and e-commerce, though French retail distribution will not lag behind, with the make-over of the Z brand.
FashionNetwork: Why did you decide to change the Zannier group's name to Kidiliz group?
Rémy Baume: Kidiliz is the name of our high-performing multi-brand website, and now also designates our brick-and-mortar stores. We are keen to leverage the digital side of the business, hence the idea of applying the name of our e-commerce website to our entire group.
The new name is designed to help us be more clearly identifiable abroad, spelling out who we are and what we do, as we deploy our labels and retail brands internationally. So we included the word 'kid', while sticking to the 'z' which has been our hallmark since our inception. Also, as the name Zannier is little known outside France, since we put the accent chiefly on our brands, we are not worried about being confusing.
FNW: In what ways will exports act as a growth driver for Kidiliz?
RB: It is not a secret that consumption trends in France and Spain are sluggish. In 2015, the childrenswear market lost 1% in value in France, and it is expected to decline even further in 2016. Worldwide, the market is growing by 5%. Demographics and globalisation both play a role, as goods move freely across borders and brands become international. The premium segment is flying, despite fast fashion breaking into the children's market.
We are going to strengthen notably in the USA, Italy and Germany, and we are targeting three expansion regions: the Middle East, thanks to a partnership signed with the Apparel group in 2015, for the opening of Z and Kidiliz stores; Asia, where we are currently present via the wholesale channel, but where the objective is to find a major partner to establish a retail presence; and central America, since in 2016 we struck a deal with a local partner to open monobrand stores in Colombia.
FNW: Are you planning to grow your brand portfolio, which currently includes, among others, Z, Catimini and licenses for Paul Smith Junior, Dim, Kenzo Kids and Esprit?
RB: Our portfolio is not frozen, but currently there is no sale on the cards, and we are assessing the acquisition of a new licence. We are looking for a solid brand with a global reputation, but extending our range is not a must, as the group already covers all market segments in children's fashion.
FNW: What are your views on digital?
RB: We got involved in digital quite late, as we launched our e-commerce site only in 2011. We are catching up, and we are currently operating three e-stores for 15 labels, with e-sales accounting for 5% of our revenue. We are hoping to double or treble this figure, and are working on the launch of the Absorba and Chipie e-stores. We have hired a new director for the online business, notably to develop local versions of our websites.
FNW: What are you busy with on the [retail] distribution side?
RB: We are working on a major make-over project for the Z store network. It is a significant undertaking, involving 500 stores in France and Italy, their sales accounting for one third of the group's total revenue. The target is for all our existing stores to adopt the new, more welcoming retail concept we launched in 2016, and the new logo, within two years.
We are also planning to convert our French multibrand store chains Ubak, Enfance and Mon Plus Beau Souvenir into Kidiliz, but in order to do so we must convince our franchisees to have confidence in us. We are also keen to find new locations. We are currently well-established in medium-sized towns and we are now setting out for France's main cities. Absorba, our brand distributed in supermarkets and hypermarkets in France and Benelux, also wants to go international, and we are evaluating two partnerships with retail organisations in Germany and France.
FNW: You recorded a revenue of €430 million in 2015. What is your forecast for the current fiscal year?
RB: We expect revenue to grow by 5% in 2016, and we are envisaging the same for 2017. This year's result is driven by the double-digit growth of Kenzo Kids and Levi's Kids, and the addition to our portfolio of the Esprit Kids licence.
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