Move over, Zara, there’s a new Spaniard in town. The Spanish retailer Mango has just opened an enticing three-story 23,000-square feet store located on 711 Fifth Avenue. If the Barcelona-based fashion emporium has its way, its brand will become as popular as the Inditex group fast-fashion retailer. Along the way, customers will upgrade their closet assortment. According to CEO Toni Ruiz, the goal for the European purveyor of moderately priced trendy clothes (or as he defines it, “fashion, femininity, color, and happiness”) is for the US operations to elevate the market to one of its leading regions.
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Ruiz arrived with his executive team, CFO
The plan is to open over 30 stores in the US over the next three years for a total of 40 stores in the American market. While not specifically disclosed, the executive noted the other key growth markets for the brand, such as India, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Both he and Lopez attributed their US growth strategy plan to the vast amount of data collected on where their customer base in the US is. Prior to the physical footprint, Mango pushed forward in the US with Omnichannel distribution via Mango.com, Macy’s
Lopez announced beyond the current five stores in the Tri-State area; the next phase will “follow the Sun Belt in tune with our Mediterranean DNA,” with stores across Florida, Atlanta, key Texan cities, Las Vegas, and Southern California up next in order. Salvans pointed out that the brand had previously built distribution points through franchises, but current plans are for corporate stores. The brand works with over 1,000 suppliers globally to deliver its goods and recently transferred work from Asian suppliers to European-based suppliers to manage the continued supply chain woes coming out of China.
As strong as digital has been—42 percent of global sales were online, and the figure is higher for the US; according to Ruiz—Mango is fully committed to connecting with its customers IRL. “Stores are key in our strategy; it’s a privileged place to meet the customer, especially in a flagship with an omnichannel presence,” said the CEO. (He also shared that Mango closed 2021 with the highest results in almost one decade, and its earnings were 2.2B euros.
Salvans named innovation and technology as key pillars, pointing out the Metaverse project on display in the store. Using five pieces of Mango’s privately-owned works of art from Spanish artists Joan Miró, Antoni Tàpies, and Miquel Barceló, Mango worked with digital artists that incorporated the physical piece of art and current collection goods into NFTs featuring both the clothes and art digitally. These particular works will be displayed in the Fifth Avenue store for about ten days after the opening. It’s a unique way of showing the technology to consumers who may benefit from seeing the digital, physical, and metaverse worlds collide.
In addition to click-and-collect and an online ordering desk, the store associates will carry devices that help them with garment information and color and size location for garments not found in the store. Ruiz announced a Loyalty program for the store, which will serve both customers and the brand. “This Loyalty program also allows us to understand what the customers do online and in-store. It’s what we use in other countries.” Other store features include 3-way mirrors, a lounge area, and a place to drop off used Mango clothes.
The latter feature addresses the brand’s eco-stance. “We define sustainability in three ways: economically, environmental and social,” said Ruiz, continuing, “We see it as a journey we must take to continue the environmental and social impact on the world. Mango is committed to planet value chain and community.” While it wasn’t a massive focus of their message in terms of product (some garments were labeled 100 percent sustainable fabric), de Vincente pointed out the store’s construction involved upcycling. “We gave a second life to a lot of the building’s elements, such as the stairs, façade, and lighting. We used seventy percent of previous material in the building,” said de Vicente, pointing to the reclaimed wood floors. The Fifth Avenue store is part of a new global design to recall a Mediterranean house with white stucco walls, terrazzo floors, large windows, and woven basket details throughout, for example.
To demonstrate its commitment to the US market, Mango is also partnering with one of the most prestigious fashion schools here, Parsons School of Design, to form closer ties with the American fashion industry and promote a new generation of leaders in the sector. Mango is committing to a five-year agreement to create a $250,000 fund to finance the studies and the development of students registered in the MPS Fashion Management Program, which focuses on technology, sourcing, marketing, merchandising, entrepreneurship, and new business models adapted to the needs of the industry. Said Ruiz of the partnership, “We believe it’s time to help the new design leaders.”