Guess expands Aussie footprint by 42 per cent

Guess-sticks-and-stone-webready-67Undeterred by the pangs of retail death swirling around Australian shopping centres, European accessories and apparel business Guess is rapidly expanding its local presence to cash in on demand for international style.

The company has opened 150 stores throughout Europe and Asia over the last two years and has just begun accelerating its local footprint, opening two stores in Victoria and Queensland since last month.

There are a further four locations slated to launch next month in NSW’s Penrith, Parramatta and Liverpool, as well as an outlet store in Melbourne’s South Wharf DFO.

That will bring Guess’ total Australian footprint to around 20 stores, a 42 per cent increase in the space of two months.

Global chief executive Victor Herrero believes the business is successfully navigating the waves of international retail disruption and is optimistic about the future of the brand in Australia and around the worl

Victor Herrero
Victor Herrero

“Over the last two years we have put many strategies in place and have been diligent and focused on the execution of those strategies,” he told Inside Retail. “Innovation in product, supply chain, real estate and retail operations have all been the focus.”

Guess has been re-positioning its business in recent years under Herrero, who was appointed with a mandate for change in 2015, increasing its exposure to faster growing Asian markets while driving its core European business to offset slower sales in America.

After global net revenue fell by 8.8 per cent in fiscal 16 the business turned around its fortunes in the space of twelve months, booking a .2 per cent increase in fiscal 17 – aided by a 3.6 per cent increase in Asian sales, which had declined by 14.1 per cent in the prior year.

In fiscal 18 the business recorded an 8 per cent increase in global revenue, driven by a 39.7 per cent sales spike in Europe and a 40.2 per cent increase in Asia, with double-digit comps in both regions.

The business has implemented a company wide accountability regime that’s sought to refocus the business on demand-based retailing, digitalise its marketing and reposition product towards newer and faster growing categories.

Herrero is also no stranger to the Asia Pacific region, having grown Zara-parent Inditex’s presence in the region to a more than $6 billion business from 2003-15.

Guess is looking to triple the size of its Asian business to around $750 million in annual revenue over the coming years.

In Australia the retailer is targeting A grade centres and top shopping strips in Australia with impactful store fronts and at least 250sqm in space.

“Our stores are an extension of the brand and must represent the aspiration lifestyle that we stand for,” Herrero said.

“Our latest global concept makes an impactful statement about who we are as a company. It features a contemporary layout with a clean white setting, sophisticated and modern lighting, and LED walls highlighting our campaign images and videos.”

Guess doesn’t break out its sales by individual operating markets but the growing influence of Asian tourism in Australia is thought to be a boon to its Australian ambitions.

You can read more about Guess’ local expansion in this week’s edition of Inside Retail Weekly, out tomorrow. 

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