(Filed Under wholesale Lingerie News). CMK Distinctive Brands has taken over the “import and distribution of Lou,” as well as providing other marketing services for the brand in the U.S. Krista Tonra is no longer working with the brand and “the office at the Fruit [of the Loom] space [in Manhattan] has been closed” according to Russ Kelly of CMK.
“In the very short term CMK will begin shipping spring ‘15 from our facility,” continued Kelly in an interview with BODY. “Basic stock will be moved to Bergen Logistics our advanced services logistic partner. All stock should be shipping from Bergen by the end of first quarter.”
Lou was founded in 1946 and expanded to become a leading luxury French lingerie brand. It eventually became a part of VF in 1992, and a division of Fruit of the Loom, a Berkshire Hathaway company, in 2007.
“CMK will provide a wide range of services to Lou and their retail partners. Beginning with the implementation of EDI services for Lou’s high volume retailers,” continued Kelly. He added that “basics and Fall ‘15 will be available through both Intertrade and GXS by January 15th, fulfillment and replenishment to start January 20th from Bergen.”
Starting in 2015, “Emily McGuirk is Lou’s CMK brand advocate and can help retailers with product information, digital media, press requests, samples. Orders can be placed with customers normal account rep.” CMK will offer the entire Lou collection, added Kelly. “Current catalogs will be available after SIL [the Salon International de la Lingerie in Paris]. Lou will continue to develop its basics offerings while continuing its tradition of beautiful and creative fashion collections.”
Kelly declined to reveal the brand’s dollar sales volume in the U.S. but claimed, “Lou has been successful with its tiered pricing strategy and they have established a strong base of specialty retailers in excess of 100 stores.” He added that CMK will “ship Spring/Summer ‘15 to 55 specialty stores, over 70 doors.” Asked about department store distribution, he replied, “to be announced.”
“Lou is focused on the volume luxury market,” explained Kelly. “Basics MSRP range is $69 to $89. Fashion ranges to $95 with a very limited numbers of products over $100.” Wholesale prices for bras range from $31.40 to $49.55. The lowest priced thong wholesales for $11.35 and bottoms prices range up to $31.40 for a boyshort.
Kelly said CMK’s “Marketing / representation will include the four majors markets in NYC, Curve NY and Las Vegas. In addition Lou will be added to the CMK portal during [the] first quarter. This will provide the ability for Lou to supply ‘live’ data to retailer partners. Online wholesale ordering will be available for Lou by the end of first quarter. Specialty retailers taking advantage of the flexibility of placing orders online rather than faxing or calling will receive a “DIY” [do it yourself] order discount.
Kelly emphasized that “The U.S. market for Lou is very important especially as Russia flounders and some eastern economies slow. The U.S. represents a major growth opportunity compared to other markets around the world.”
Asked about plans to expand the brand in the U.S., the CMK executive emphasized that Lou has a tremendous advantage over most other luxury brands in that it is owned by one of the world’s largest and solidly financed conglomerates, Berkshire Hathaway. He added, “Today we are seeing a dramatic convergence information and it is creating many new sales channels. Small boutiques becoming big internet destinations, bloggers with large followings becoming retailers and full service boutiques succeeding with superior service models. For a brand to grow, for a retailer to be successful they must finds ways to be part of the omni channel expansion. CMK will assist Lou to grow within traditional channels as well as, engaging emerging new opportunities with Lou retailers.”
“Lou is well positioned in the market for price and quality. Fit is excellent with cups to F and G. Add technology, leading edge highly flexible logistics and a business development team available to our retailers to support new ideas, we look forward to a great 2015.”
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