Lacoste sets up footwear joint-venture with Pentland
Lacoste is increasingly keen to take direct control of its distribution. After taking over leather goods, as well as its Spanish business, the French sportswear label, now owned by Swiss group Maus, has turned to its most important product category after apparel, footwear.
Lacoste, whose revenue topped the €2 billion mark in 2016, has joined forces with its long-standing partner in the product category, British footwear manufacturer Pentland, with which Lacoste has been working since 1991. The new joint-venture company, based at Pentland's London headquarters, will design and manufacture the Lacoste footwear range.
The French label has now taken direct control of its entire worldwide distribution, except for the UK, where it is still distributed by Pentland. The latter is a specialised footwear manufacturer, but also a key distribution partner for the UK, since it owns 57% of British sport retailer JD Sports.
Even though Lacoste and Pentland are well acquainted with each other, the purpose of the new joint-venture company is to improve line consistency within Lacoste's product range, and ideally to shorten market-reaction times. "This alliance is part and parcel of the Lacoste group's strategic vision, whose goals are the brand's premiumization and the optimal coordination of all of its product categories, strengthening the Lacoste style worldwide," said Thierry Guibert, the Lacoste group's President, in a press release.
Depending on the results of any specific year, footwear accounts for between 10% and 20% of Lacoste's revenue. The brand is keen to boost its sports range, notably after picking tennis superstar Novak Djokovic as brand ambassador, and one of its challenges is to develop the performance shoe segment.
Lacoste is also doing business with Coty for fragrances and Delta Galil for underwear, both among the group's key licences.
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