SPANISH fashion label Desigual is accelerating its expansion in Europe and emerging markets in a bid to cash in on the predicted rise in demand for women’s apparel.
The Barcelona-based company is also expanding into the perfumes and shoes market.
The colourful brand has gained a reputation for bold marketing, offering free clothes to shoppers who arrive in their underwear to special sale parties.
After expanding outside Europe three years ago, it is now targeting sales of 1 billion euros this year – from about 820 million in 2013 and 440 million four years ago – and plans to add 100 stores a year for the next three years.
Manel Jadraque’s master plan to build a powerhouse brand to rival those of French luxury group LVMH, where he worked for a decade before joining Desigual as director of operations in 2004.
“In the next three years we plan to grow about 20-25% a year. The big idea is to double the company every four years,” Jadraque said in an interview during Berlin fashion week.
He said he saw room for competition between 20 companies like Zara-owner Inditex , which has grown fast to become the world’s biggest clothing retailer with more than 6,000 outlets.
Hence Desigual’s move into cosmetics, homeware, sports and shoes in the last two years as well as its drive to open stores in travel locations like airports, train stations and hotels.
“It is an upgrade for the brand to be in more channels,” Jadraque said. “For a brand, the most important factor is to have presence in the market.”
Founded in Ibiza in 1984 by Swiss designer Thomas Meyer – still the company’s sole shareholder – Desigual says its mission is to put at least one item into every wardrobe in the world.
Part of the business’ plan is to multiply concessions in department stores and increase Internet sales to a quarter of total turnover from about 10% now.
Jadraque, who planned to visit potential new locations during his visit to Berlin, still sees plenty of room to grow in Europe and will be making a big push in Germany this year, where he plans to add 20 more stores to the current 40.
Desigual, which currently sources about 80 percent of its goods from China and India, plans to increase production in Europe as it seeks to improve quality.
Jadraque was optimistic about the economic recovery in Spain, where Desigual expects to hire 200 of the 1,000 new staff it wants add to its team of 4,000 employees this year.