Samsonite: a new Parisian flagship and a portfolio chock-full of brands
Next June, Samsonite will again have a flagship store in Paris. The luggage brand will set up shop in a 100-m² space on boulevard des Capucines (8th district), a thoroughfare that it had formerly occupied until 2009. “It isn’t necessary for us, however, to create a new retail network,” points out Damien Mignot, the CEO of Samsonite France. Beyond Paris, Samsonite already has six outlets and its products can be found in a thousand multi-brand stores ranging from department stores to leatherwear shops, not to mention Fnac, which offers its computer and tablet cases.
"In France we have an excellent network of leatherwear shops where we can sell our products, which is not the case in Asia for example (where the brand has about a thousand stores, editor’s note)," says Damien Mignot.
And in an evolving travel market shaken up by new low-cost flights and ever more itinerant senior citizens, the luggage market has done well for itself.
Samsonite had a 55 million euro turnover in France for 2013, up 14% compared to 2012, doubling its revenue in five years. That makes France the second largest European market for Samsonite right after Germany.
Listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, in 2013 Samsonite International recorded sales of $2 billion, up 15%.
"We can’t meet everyone’s expectations with a single brand.”
Having undergone several difficult years during which it became known as an “overly high end” brand, Samsonite has returned to growth in recent years thanks to its successful designer and hard-shell luggage lines.
And besides its flagship brand Samsonite, and American Tourister bought up in 1993, Samsonite Group has packed its brand portfolio. "We can’t meet everyone’s expectations with a single brand," explains Damien Mignot. And so in addition to its 2012 acquisition of High Sierra Sport Company, the American company specialized in hiking backpacks and sports bags to be rolled out in France in April, Samsonite International has purchased Hartmann.
An American luxury luggage brand founded in 1877, Hartmann’s leather bags will become available in France this summer in a limited number of outlets.
Finally, in an effort to attract younger customers (and perhaps their parents), Samsonite International has signed a European license agreement with Disney, promising a family luggage line: "Disney by Samsonite". The line will encompass backpacks, book bags, luggage ... all sporting the colors of Disney and Marvel heroes to be released in July. A second wave of more “sophisticated” products will be released at the end of the year.
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