France's Captain Tortue to focus on womenswear, drop kidswear
French group Captain Tortue, founded as a childrenswear specialist in 1993 by Philippe and Lilian Jacquelinet, is now setting its sights exclusively on womenswear. The group, with a 3,500-strong team of door-to-door sales consultants, was acquired in 2011 by the L Capital private equity firm, the LVMH and Arnault groups' investment arm, now known as L Catterton after its merger with US firm Catterton.
The comapny operates in several European countries, including the UK, Spain and Switzerland ,and is currently expanding to Germany.
Although its roots are with childrenswear, Captain Tortue has decided to discontinue the Capt'n Tortue label for young boys and girls (known as Little Captain from 2014) from the summer 2016 season, owing to the slumping children's fashion market in France.
Focusing now on womenswear, the group is relying above all on Miss Captain, currently its leading brand, which is both classic and casual in style. In 2014 the company also launched Miss Captain Trend, a line with a more urban, designer vibe.
The group's third label, Little Miss Captain, has a more creative approach, with greater flair in its cuts and prints. Little Miss Captain also includes a collection for girls aged four-to-10. This is a downsized version of the grown-up models, with no specific advertising for its target and virtually invisible even on the group's website. The group's fourth label is Java Séduction, a lingerie brand it acquired in 2009.
Captain Tortue will stick to its current distribution model, based on a network of consultants selling directly, via meetings held at their customers' homes. The rationale is that, "given the explosion of internet purchases and the rise of intangible communications, consumers are losing their bearings. They seek reassurance, and try to establish new connections. Hence the need for going back to basics, and for a person-to-person, convivial contact when buying." According to the group, its team of consultants holds 256 sales meetings per day on average, and serves 600,000 customers.
In 2015 the group moved to new, 7,400 sq m headquarters in Aix-en-Provence, in southern France. In the same year it generated a revenue of €66 million, 15% of which was exported to nine countries. The revenue target for 2016 is €68 million.
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