Retail Detail. Chico’s Acquires Boston Proper as Misses’ Market Takes Off

Fountain of 30

August 19, 2011 • Fashion Blog, Retail Detail, Shopping

Since the recession, retailers from mass to luxury have been clamoring to revamp their image to appeal to younger customers. Fresher, more youthful styling from Liz Claiborne to Ann Taylor to Talbot’s have caused the contemporary market to swell while their original target demographic, the misses’ market, became neglected and flat.

But those days may be a thing of the past, now that retailers are beginning to heal financially and can broaden their expanse of targeted clientele. WWD reports that many stores still don’t realize that the misses’ customer has more disposable income than their contemporary counterpart and are therfore missing out on this veritable cash cow. One company that does seem understand is Chico’s, who just inked a deal to acquire the Internet and catalogue business Boston Proper, who caters soley to misses’. WWD calls the deal a “$205 million bet that there’s lots of growth left in the misses’ category”, but president and chief executive officer of Chico’s FAS Inc., David Dyer, seems  confident in his decision.

“We love her,” Dyer said. “Everybody wants to be a little bit younger, a little bit cooler and a little bit hipper, but when you look at the disposable income and in terms of look or style, [the misses’ customer] is underserved.”

Boston Proper’s average customer is 45 years old and its sales grew 15 percent last year to $110 million. Yet than 5 percent of Boston Proper’s customers are in Chico’s customer database. So to make the operations work smoothly, the business will operate as a stand-alone division within Chico’s and under its current ceo Sheryl Clark, who will serve as president and report to Dyer.

Chico’s also owns White House|Black Market and Soma, and Clark described Boston Proper’s aesthetic as Clark described Boston Proper’s offering as sexier than Chico’s, but more casual than White House|Black Market’s. “We fill a void between the two brands,” she said. Hopefully the newly embraced misses’ customer can see that as well.


-Alia Rajput

Article and Photo Source: WWD


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