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.

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