By Aimee Chanthadavong

A fashion parade and dance performances were the highlights of ESPRIT’s first Australian icon store launch.

Declared officially open last Tuesday, the 1,200 square metre store takes on a European design spreading across three levels as part of Pitt Street Mall’s Westfield Sydney redevelopment.

Speaking to Retailbiz, Andrew Bousie, general manager of ESPRIT Australia, said that the store is a great addition to the brand’s portfolio.

“This is our entry into bringing the brand to a global platform and offering the customers not only an experience with the brand but also the offers of all the different brands Esprit has in its portfolio and now we’re able to do that in Australia under one roof,” he said.

The store offers the company’s women and men, dc, bodywear, accessories and the baby and children’s line. It is also the first store in Australia to offer the new ESPRIT Men’s Collection.

“We’ve had menswear for quite some years but now we’ve launched Men’s Collection in this store and we’ll continue to roll that out across other stores that we have in the portfolio,” Bouise said.

“What it does is it gives us a new offering in the casual line towards more tailored outside of weekend wear into more business wear.”

The store resides nearby international brand Gap and soon-to-be open Zara, but Bouise said he is not threatened by the competition but instead welcomes it.

“We globally already compete with Gap and Zara in every other country in the world so we’re already globally competing against them. Obviously whilst its something we have to be aware of, our design team in Germany are already aware of the trends that have already been set by those brands and making sure we stay clear and true to the ESPRIT customer and very much our offer is tailored to our customers,” he said.

“Now competitors are competitors and there’s a realness in that but ESPRIT is very much dedicated to sticking to its core target market, which is different to those other brands. This is why we’re very confident and comfortable where we are located in Pitt St Mall.”

Looking forward, Bouise admits the retail industry is going through a rough patch but believes ESPRIT is still able to remain competitive.

“You have to really fight for your part of the market and the ESPRIT brand fortunately has a really strong foot hold on the market and we’ve been able to do that by making sure we continue to grow the brand but also make sure the brand has something to offer the customer,” he said.
“The competitive nature is still there and we have to be careful not to ignore that because that’s a market trend but we also have to be careful we don’t get caught up in it because at the end of the day we are all about brand management and customer experience,

“About 12 months ago, we launched our club card and the club card is part of the ESPRIT launch to engage customers in the brand experience rather than just discount offer. So we’ve moved away from discount offering and into the loyalty card so we now can reward customers who are shopping with ESPRIT.”