French kids fashion chain Tape à l’oeil has opened its first store in the centre of Brussels, that should build brand awareness among Dutch speaking Belgians.
The new store in the Anspach Center is located near the main shopping street Rue Neuve and the pedestrian area, but rents are not yet as high as in the high street. It is the 19th store for the chain in Belgium, but most of them are in French speaking areas - with the one exception being Boortmeerbeek. By next year, the chain wants to have four stores in the Dutch-speaking North of Belgium. Its main target is Waasland Shopping Center, in Sint-Niklaas (between Ghent and Antwerp): "That seems to be an ideal location for our brand", says Bernard Sombreffe, director Belgium& and Luxembourg, "and after that I want to conquer Antwerp."
The new store "offers the full Tape à l'oeil experience on 200 sqm", says Sombreffe, despite being only half the size of most of the other stores. "Still, this should become the most important store in terms of turnover, knowing that an average store gets around 1 to 1.5 million euro." It will feature experiments with a social wall and omnichannel pick-up point. Service is the other aim for the stores: "We want to make real advisors from our salespeople: working with us means getting a course in sales and omnichannel - an investment that should pay off quickly.
Tape à l'oeil is a part of the empire of French family Mulliez, which also owns (participations in) chains like Auchan, Boulanger, Decathlon or Kiabi. "The family is directly involved in everything and such a support of people with the same vision makes working much more fun", Sombreffe finds. His chain was founded in 1996 and currently has more than 200 stores in Belgium, France and Poland. In around thirty other countries, the chain has agents or franchisers.