Le Chateau re-inventing itself
Le Chateau hopes to reverse years of financial losses by introducing a more mature line to customers who were loyal in their rebellious youth but are now seeking fashionable office attire.
“We were young and rebellious when we started in the '60s and that whole era of society has changed so we're now having to offer our product in the right way for today's culture,” founder Herschel Segal said in an interview after Wednesday's annual meeting.
The Montreal-based retailer has been looking for ways to stem four years of losses amid declining sales.
While Segal said the company has moved slowly to reposition itself, it is regaining its footing and making the right moves.
That includes going more upscale by targeting working men and women in their 20s to mid30s.
Executive vice-president Franco Rocchi said the targeted customer can also be older and include those who fondly remember shopping at Le Chateau before they had jobs, got married or had children.
“We were a rite of passage and a lot of the market remembers us as that and we want to let them know that our product today has now grown up.”
With the help of ad agency Sid Lee, Le Chateau (TSX:CTU.A) plans to promote its more mature styling in an ad campaign next month as it prepares to introduce a loyalty card in 2016 and expand its online wedding boutique launched last spring.
Le Chateau has been developing the change over the past few years, including the rollout of a new store concept that features better lighting, more comfortable fitting rooms and grouping clothing displays by use, such as daywear, career and special occasion.
Rocchi said he's optimistic about a turnaround because the new store concept that has been adopted in several top locations in Canada has shown sales improvement even without any advertising support.
Le Chateau founder and Director Herschel Segal, left, chats with Franco Rocchi, senior vice-president of sales and operations after the company's annual meeting Wednesday in Montreal.