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Lacoste Bets on New Store Concept to Propel Sales to €4 Billion

After sales hit €2.5 billion last year, the French heritage label known for its crocodile-logoed polos is looking to its new ‘Lacoste Arena’ retail concept to help power its next chapter of growth.
Inside Lacoste's new 900 square meter flagship on London’s Regent Street.
This week, Lacoste opened a new 900 square meter flagship on London’s Regent Street. (Marie Lukasiewicz)

LONDON — To drive its next chapter of growth, Lacoste is betting on bigger and better retail stores. This week, the French heritage brand, best known for its crocodile-logoed piqué polos, opened the doors of a new 900 square meter flagship on London’s Regent Street.

It’s the second store to adopt the brand’s new “Lacoste Arena” concept, which aims to showcase a wider product offering to shoppers in larger, more experiential spaces. The splashy London store will be the first time Lacoste has offered shoppers choices from its full range of product categories — including its licensed perfume, jewellery and watches lines — under one roof, said deputy chief executive Catherine Spindler.

Last year, Lacoste debuted the new format in Paris with a blockbuster 1,600-square-metre location on the Champs-Élysées.

“It’s quite new for us, because usually we’ve got stores that are smaller,” said Spindler. “[The new format is] the best way to really be able to express and to embody all the different categories.”

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A New York “Arena” flagship opening is already slated for next year. More will follow in other global cities, said Spindler, starting with the Asia market. The brand is also thinking of staging more seasonal pop-ups, following the success of a six-month Ibiza location last summer. “Physical retailing is really back, and we think it’s a trend that will last,” Spindler said.

The retail strategy is part of a plan to propel Lacoste, owned by Swiss holding group Maus Frères, past €4 billion in annual revenues by 2026, said Spindler; the resurgence of physical retail since the end of the pandemic has helped spur the brand forward, she said, with sales hitting the €2.5 billion mark last year, up 26 percent year on year.

The current fashion cycle has also worked in its favour: the broader nostalgia trend has boosted the appeal of retro sportswear among Gen Z and Millennial consumers, helping Lacoste to recruit a new, younger audience, said Spindler.

Meanwhile, former creative director Louise Trotter, who left the label in January, made good progress on elevating Lacoste’s image during her four-year tenure. She also bolstered the brand’s underpenetrated womenswear category and helped to hone a sharper creative identity, pushing more sophisticated materials and colour palettes within collections.

Going forward, the brand sees potential to further grow its womenswear business, as well as its footwear and technical sports lines, under the guidance of new creative design director Pelagia Kolotouros. Kolotouros, whose resume includes stints at The North Face and Adidas, will lead a new “collaborative studio” working with a range of external designers and other creatives on a more regular basis, Spindler said.

The new retail concept, designed to better spotlight these categories, will be an important part of the strategy to drive success. Shoes, in particular, are front and centre in the London store, with a giant wall display pushing its new L003 sneaker and technical tennis shoes.

Elsewhere, there’s lots for visitors to interact with. The back of the store houses a revolving concept space, currently lined with retro arcade machines to promote a current tie-up with Netflix and its hit “Stranger Things” series. Upstairs, shoppers can get their polos customised with monograms and a limited-edition crocodile emblem of their choice.

“We really think physical retail is a question of experience, and [its] capacity to surprise people,” said Spindler. “We need to keep our authenticity, but to continue to reinvent ourselves and surprise people.”

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