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La Senza launches Sydney flagship store

Thursday, 21 July 2011 | By Michelle Hammond
Canadian lingerie label La Senza has opened its first flagship store in Sydney, less than two months after it launched its eStore, as it seeks to increase its presence in the Australian market.

 

La Senza is owned by Limited Brands in the United States, which also operates lingerie label Victoria’s Secret, sleepwear brand Pink, and Bath & Body Works.

 

La Senza was sold to Limited Brands for $US710 million in 2006 and is available in 48 countries, with more than 750 stores worldwide.

 

In August last year, Limited Brands signed a 10-year licensing deal with Sydney-based retailer Specialty Fashion Group to operate La Senza in Australia.

 

Gary Perlstein, chief executive of Specialty Fashion Group – which also operates Katies, Millers and Crossroads – says the company aims to open 100 La Senza stores within three years. There are already 15 stores operating on the east coast.

 

Perlstein says such an aggressive expansion in Australia is necessary in order for the brand to leverage its popularity.

 

“I think if you open your stores over a 10-year period, you water down the effect of what it can bring and consumers are out there wanting it. We’re essentially satisfying a need,” he says.

 

“For us, we don’t think that’s a lot of stores to roll out given the size of the business. From a logistical point of view, certainly it’s very manageable. You need to get that full leverage there.”

 

La Senza’s move to Australia comes as several other international fashion retailers, including Gap and Zara, have opened up local stores.

 

However, La Senza’s expansion throws into question the rumoured arrival of Victoria’s Secret, given they are owned by the same company, although Perlstein is confident this will happen.

 

“We don’t have an agreement with Limited Group but we certainly believe that we will have every opportunity to bring Victoria’s Secret to Australia... La Senza is certainly the conduit to that,” he says.

 

An important part of La Senza’s growth strategy is its eStore, launched in June.

 

La Senza product and marketing manager Rachel Underwood says the site, which took eight weeks to complete, may feature some products exclusively or before in-store drops.

 

“The majority of all products found in our stores will be available on our website, and in some cases before the stores,” she says.

 

“As a global brand, we want our product to be accessible to all... The eStore allows us to reach customers in areas that our stores are currently not convenient to get to.”

 

La Senza is marketing its eStore launch via Facebook, its member’s database and other social networks. The brand has also invested in a special offer to promote its eBoutique.