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French Fashion Brand Sparks Social Media Firestorm With 'No Chinese' Rule [Updated]

Posted by Abe Sauer on October 1, 2012 10:06 AM

One of the most famous landmarks of colonial era Shanghai was a sign that hung in The Bund park reading "No Dogs and Chinese." That sign never existed, although the urban legend persists because such rules did exist. Now, nearly 100 years later, with Chinese consumers growing more powerful every year, a luxury fashion designer has opened old wounds with a statement so colonially racist it would be comfortable on the streets of the French Concession circa 1921.

In a statement to WWD, the founder of high-end fashioner Zadig & Voltaire said that its new boutique hotel slated to open on the Left Bank in Paris in 2014 "won’t be open to Chinese tourists." Outrageous, for sure. But does the sentiment reveal an uncomfortable relationship between the world's haute fashion houses and their nouveau riche Chinese patrons? Just a week after D&G needed to explain its "Moorish" earrings, Thierry Gillier, fashion brand Zadig + Voltaire's founder, told WWD of the brand's new Paris hotel:

“It will be a slightly private hotel, not open to everybody, with 40 rooms. We are going to select guests. It won’t be open to Chinese tourists, for example. There is a lot of demand in Paris — many people are looking for quiet with a certain privacy.”

Through the weekend the story lit up Chinese social media networks including Weibo. Needless to say, reactions were swift and scathing.Continue reading...

retail watch

H&M Confirms & Other Stories Spin-Off, Delays U.S. E-Commerce Launch

Posted by Shirley Brady on September 27, 2012 11:01 AM

H&M has announced that its new store brand, & Other Stories, will launch in Spring 2013 in "selected European countries," with an online hub at stories.com (which was registered in March), and a waiting Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Along with the news that H&M's U.S. e-commerce launch has been moved to Summer 2013, H&M commented on the pending & Other Stories launch in the company's third quarter earnings update, which was softer than expected —Continue reading...

brand strategy

Levi-Strauss to Phase Out Global Denizen Brand

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 24, 2012 02:41 PM

Two years after launching an exclusive denim brand in Asia, dENiZEN, Levi-Stauss has taken the low-cost denim line to China, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Singapore and last year to the United States (via an exclusive deal with Target) — but now it's phasing out the brand beyond North America in order to promote its core brands.

According to a statement provided by the company,

"Across our company, we are focused on driving profitable growth. We made the strategic decision to phase out the Denizen® brand from Asia and focus our resources behind growing the Levi’s® brand in this market. We’re working with our franchisee partners for a smooth transition and we’ll phase it out over the next twelve months. We are committed to Asia and will continue to serve consumers in Asia through our Levi’s® and Dockers® brands. We’re continuing Denizen in the North America in Target, where we’re currently in more than 1,700 US stores and expanding to Canada."

sip on this

Green Mountain Scaled by Starbucks in Single-Serve Coffee Battle

Posted by Dale Buss on September 20, 2012 10:01 AM

Green Mountain Coffee is in a pot of trouble. And that's even before Starbucks introduces Verismo, its own single-serve brewing system for consumers that's rolling out in October (and already available on Verismo.com), to challenge the iconic K-Cup system by Green Mountain that features its Keurig pods. 

The brand has been a darling of consumers for several years, on a continued growth tear as K-Cups led a revolution in how Americans consume much of their coffee by making the single-serve system de rigeur in homes and offices. The company fed strong double-digit sales growth by continuing to proliferate the types of pods, to include "iced" drinks and juices as well as coffees and teas.

Green Mountain also had been a darling of investors seeking to cash in on a boom that, for the six years after the Vermont-based company acquired Keurig, managed to thrive without attracting the competitive interest of Starbucks.Continue reading...

brand extensions

Brandchannel's Mark J. Miller On CNBC: Ikea's Hotel And Other Brand Extensions (VIDEO)

Posted by Peter Feld on August 17, 2012 05:17 PM

Mark J. Miller, who wrote about Ikea's new European foray into the hotel business yesterday, discussed this and other best and worst brand extensions on CNBC's Street Signs yesterday.

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brand extensions

Ikea Entering the Hotel Business

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 16, 2012 10:03 AM

Europe’s financial difficulties continue and consumers are counting their Euros. Such a situation doesn’t bode well for the travel industry, which is why budget hotels have started popping up all over the continent and consumers that are actually traveling are using them more than they used to.

Budget hotel sales figures in 2011 were up 10 percent, Reuters notes, which means it was eating up 41 percent of the $162.5 billion European hotel market.

That kind of cash has enticed some folks to get into the budget-hotel biz or spread their brand. Germany’s Motel One is moving into the UK, Belgium, and Austria. Travelodge, which already has more than 500 hotels in Europe, opened four in London in July and is planning to open nine more in Europe before year’s end. Continue reading...

celebrity brandcasting

Marilyn Monroe Estate at 50: Cafes, Cosmetics and Social Moxie

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 13, 2012 11:03 AM

We've just passed the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death from an overdose of barbiturates, but the world still can’t keep its collective eyes off of her visage — or brand. She may not have an annual week dedicated to her as Elvis does, but her doe-eyed, beauty-marked visage is stronger than ever.

Forbes, which has made something of a cottage industry out of tracking dead celebrities' brands, estimates that Monroe pulled in $27 million in 2011, third behind Michael Jackson and Presley in the dead-celeb sweepstakes.

Her image and likeness are controlled by Authentic Brands Group and partner NECA, which purchased the Monroe brand in 2010. The plan in process now, according to the Associated Press, is to upgrade “Monroe offerings from trinkets to cosmetic lines, spas, salons and apparel.”Continue reading...

brand extensions

Lululemon's Little Sister Tests the Waters in America

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 13, 2012 10:05 AM

Canada's upscale yogathletic brand lululemon has a younger sibling: ivivva athletica, a dance-inspired activewear label for girls and teens that has been dipping a pointed toe in the tween/teen market with a modest debut in Canada and a co-branded line with Disney.

The younger brand has been available in lululemon’s hometown of Vancouver and in Calgary, and this summer has been quietly slipping south of the border to the US via showrooms (not full-blown stores) to test the waters in Bellevue and Seattle, WA, plus Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.

“A note to all of our amazing + loyal ivivva girls: an ivivva SHOWROOM is a little different from an ivivva STORE," a blog post explains. "A showroom is a small space that we open in new cities to show a few pieces of our product line. It is the perfect place to go to get decked out in all of your core essentials and try on all of our sizes so you know what size to order in all of the crazy colours online! And, if you want more, you can always purchase online using the iPads in our showrooms.”

Parent company lululemon athletica, of course, is the yoga-inspired athletic apparel lifestyle brand that, while a little overreaching to some observers, has certainly raised the barre in technical fabrics and functional designs, not to mention in convincing women to pay a premium for yoga pants. But will lululemon moms stretch their wallets as wide for their dance-, track- and gymnastics-obsessed daughters?Continue reading...

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