Iconic Swimwear Brand Shuts US Stores


Lucy Archibald | July 12, 2010

Is the stand-alone luxury boutique a dying breed?

About a month after LS reported that legendary Parisian boutique, Maria Luisa, was closing to focus on online and department store sales, luxury lingerie and swimwear brand Eres has also announced that from August they will be closing their three US stores in Manhattan, Los Angeles and Palm Beach.

The brand, known for its sculptural swimwear, feels a more effective business model will be shop-in-shops and franchises — a model similar to that which they follow in Europe. Speaking to WWD, Oliver Mauny, president of the company, said they were in discussion with several US retailers including Neiman Marcus: “We currently have opportunities for several possible franchises and in-store shops in Los Angeles, Palm Beach and Washington, DC,” he said. “We expect to have other opportunities, especially after the Miami swimwear show this month. “The commercial model best suited to our activity is the network of 60 retailers in the US, which includes Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys New York,” Mauny said. “This is why we are adapting our model and closing three boutiques in the US that had expensive leases. We’ll be focusing on the network of our 60 established retailers going forward.” 

With seasoned luxury retailer Maria Luisa Poumaillou, amongst others, also feeling drawn away from the boutique model, it is clear that, as Poumaillou puts it, “The evolution of the retail sector over the past 20 years has been colossal.” Explaining her decision to shut up shop, she described online and large department store channels as being “100 times” more powerful than her much loved boutique, in terms of sales and visibility.

As luxury brands struggle to reconcile boutique sales with the enormous overhead costs, it looks like good news for department stores and, more than ever, underlines the need for luxury brands to get selling online.