Belgian shoe store chain Brantano has opened its first two 'boutik by brantano' stores, in a bid to develop into a more premium brand. The chain wants to create experience stores and expand into clothing as well.
Fashion takes over range
The new concept Boutik aims to be a ‘one stop shopping destination’ for fashion and shoes, in which fashion will be some 80 % of the product range. Rather surprisingly, FNG's fashion brands will not be part of that product range, with the exception of CKS. Instead, major international brands like Armani Exchange, Comma, G-Star, Guess, Hugo Boss, Replay, Superdry, Ted Baker and Tommy Hilfiger will feature in the stores.
The new concept looks modern and intimate, despite the size of 900 sqm. The - literal - centrepiece of the store is a central zone that is made out of mirrors: this zone contains the fitting rooms, a personal shopping area and the check-out tills. All around that zone are different experience zones, where different brands are ordered by colour to make shopping easier.
Dieter Penninckx, CEO of parent company FNG, had said in June that he wanted to turn Brantano into the biggest fashion retailer in Belgium and fight Zalando's supremacy. The strategy to achieve this aim would be to expand Brantano's product range from just shoes into general fashion as well, and to create two spin-offs to cover the whole market: 'Boutik' for the high end and 'Market' for the middle of the market.
Online expansion as well
The new concept builds on Brantano's strong points as a well-known retailer with a huge store network, but also aims to recreate this online: a new website showcases an extended premium range and the new stores will also be used as pick-up points for online orders. While home deliveries went up 44 % compared to the year before, Brantano still believes its stores have a role to play in an omni-channel shopping experience: physical stores will - in Penninckx' opinion - keep about two thirds of the fashion turnover, with a growing role for click & reserve concepts.
In the next few months, FNG will test the new concept to make sure it can be copied to other stores next years. Penninckx hopes there will be room for some thirty 'boutik by brantano' stores, and dreams of a store in the country's most expensive major shopping street: the Meir in Antwerp.