Inditex: Uterqüe opens London pop-up in international expansion push
Amid the entertainment venues and luxury stores of Covent Garden, in the heart of London, Uterqüe has made its bricks-and-mortar debut in the UK with a pop-up store dedicated to its English customers. But the space is not any regular pop-up. It exposes the way Inditex trials products and initiatives in new markets. Uterqüe is entering maturity and it has big international ambitions.
Inditex first launched Uterqüe, the most upmarket chain in its portfolio, in 2008. 11 years on and the brand continues to be the smallest business at Inditex, but its numbers are showing an interesting double digit growth. In the first half of the year, sales at the label grew by 13% to €52 million ($57m), rising faster than any other Inditex brand, including young fashion label Stradivarius and fashion powerhouse Zara. Overall, Inditex generated €12.82 billion ($14bn) in sales during the same period.
Uterqüe is now a €100 million brand, after posting revenues of €101 million in the last financial year. It may be Inditex’s smallest label, but Uterqüe is now playing in the big leagues alongside other leading Spanish clothing businesses, such as menswear company El Ganso (€70 million) and luxury designer Adolfo Dominguez (€111.9m). Meanwhile, Bimba y Lola’s revenue for the same period more than doubled that of Uterqüe, reaching €201.3 million.
Under the leadership of José Luis Rodríguez Moreno since 2014, the brand has widened its physical presence across key regions, and now boasts of 90 stores in 17 countries, led by Spain (32 stores), Mexico (15) and Russia (13). Europe has been less of a priority for the business, with Spain, Portugal, Poland and the Ukraine counting as the only European countries with Uterqüe stores. This could soon change, as the latest pop-up suggests a new ambition for the brand in the UK. And Brexit uncertainty is not a concern, given the continued growth of the brand’s online sales in the region, a spokesperson told FashionNetwork.com.
Uterqüe’s identity, with its bold prints and tweed outfits, seems well suited to attract the attention of London consumers. This task would be harder in Paris, where classic cuts and simplicity reigns supreme and competition is fierce among well established mid-market fashion labels such as The Kooples, Sandro and Maje.
Inditex, which is undertaking a full review of its store estate to adapt to larger spaces, is finding it challenging to access suitable retail units, so staging a pop-up seemed like the best way to trial a possible permanent opening in the city, said the spokesperson.
The first UK pop-up shop opened on 9 October at 9-11 Short Gardens in Seven Dials. Spanning 190 sq mts, the interior features a Scandinavian and industrial style, with white walls and a large glass window that showcases the label’s Maze collection. During the day, visitors were invited to scan QR codes to buy any garments on display, while the evening saw an exclusive launch event attended by a select group of guests including influencers and models such as Louise Follain and Helena Cuesta.
Zara is finding its place in Paris Fashion Week and Massimo Dutti continues to sharpen its show strategy, so the time is right for Uterqüe to start gaining recognition as Inditex’s most exclusive label - and the slowest in terms of production volumes.
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