Chevignon has been in the country for 30 years and thanks to the Colombian market it is the best selling license for the French brand.
Juan David Urquijo enters general management to relieve Daniel Uribe, who brought him into the country. He talks about applying accelerators to expand the brand in Latin America and the United States. This task will be for both physical stores and virtual offers.
What did he do in the Andean store?
It is a very small store, 35 square meters, with a privileged location and a very exclusive customer base. Per square meter, it sells three times more than any other store in Colombia. Normally, sales in the world of ‘retail’ run around $6,000 per square meter per year and this one sells for around $14,000. It was remodeled under a concept in which the physical and digital worlds meet.
How is the concept?
Our head office in France develops a concept that allows the customer to have a self-service location so that they feel more comfortable when shopping. And the store is turning to digital. For example, there are interactive screens for examining the collections. After the pandemic, the client wants to experience gaming, but does not want to be separated from the virtual.
How many stores do you have?
We have 77, of which 49 are our own in Medellin, Bogotá, Cali, Barranquilla and Cartagena. We have 28 franchisees in other regions.
(‘We are becoming less productive than in 2022’: Asbama).
From Colombia we have a license to live in Latin America and the United States. We have been in Ecuador for over 10 years with 7 franchised stores and over 80 multi-brand clients. 6 months back we started online business. In Panama, we have Felix B. Maduro, a traditional department store. We expect to reach Peru in 2024. It is a big project to cover the area with digital model.
Yes, it’s the board’s decision and we plan to launch the first half of 2024 in Peru, Bolivia and across Central America to Mexico. In countries where we have better results, physical tests will be carried out within a period of 6 to 12 months.
(Health Improvement: Deficiencies in the project).
How long have you been in the country?
Next year we will be 30 years old, and I can proudly say that for France we have the first license for worldwide sales. Serving Latin America we are above license like Hong Kong license. That’s why we are very important to them. What we have outside weighs only 7% and Colombia has given us much more.
Earlier they grew at a slow pace and now they want to pick up the pace?
This has more to do with the growth of ‘retail’ which has been marginally slower. Colombia is a success story in the region due to the development of shopping centers and sales per square meter.
(The alarm goes off because of a decline in manufacturing GDP).
What is the scope of expansion in the country?
We’re consolidating operations. Chevignon returns in June to the Unicentro Bogotá, which was closed due to a pandemic. The number of stores that we have, we are at an ideal level for the market. We bet on the digital medium where we are not.
What are your goals when you take over as manager?
One of Brand’s sons moves into general management, having a 13-year career in the company. And although the change is a generational change, there is no shortage of it. The brand is very healthy and given the great numbers it is coming off 2022 as a record year in its history, which is very challenging.
In terms of goals, the first thing is to follow the development of Colombia, then to guarantee the development of 450 employees, to think of Latin America with great ambitions, and finally, we will look to the United States. We are on exploratory journeys. We think we have a brand and a company to compete in that market.
(Employers continue to be concerned about labor).
How are they on sale?
We continue to be a brand that has jeans and denim in its DNA, we remain number one in the premium denim market, we have been in this position for over 7 years according to Euromonitor, and we have huge growth potential. The idea is that by 2025 we have a placement of over two million units in Colombia, which gives us a premium market share of over 8% in Colombia. Today we are at one million units.
Does the Tariff Hike Affect Imported Clothing?
Despite belonging to the French parent company, the license allows us to design and produce our own collections. 10% of the finished product reaches us and it is they who are affected by the tariffs in force from this year, but 90% of our product is produced in the country. We have developed suppliers of the highest quality. What affects us is the devaluation because we imported clothing and supplies.
In addition, we have faced slow supplies and high costs due to logistical issues. There has also been high inflation around the world as a third influencing factor. We have chosen not to pass that cost on to our consumer.