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The creator of the fragrance publishing house concept has just opened a shop-in-shop in Moscow's Tsarist-era department store Tsum, or Central Universal Store.
The new Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle shop is the forerunner of a number planned for Moscow, St. Petersburg and, perhaps, elsewhere in Russia over the next two to three years, and lays the groundwork for a possible expansion into other East European countries. Poland is touted as one option.
Malle has nine shop-in-shops in North America, three freestanding stores in Paris and other locations in Europe and Asia.
"We think Russia could become one of our biggest markets," he said Monday in his new location.
Malle, whose grandfather Serge Heftler was the founder of Parfums Christian Dior, has become known for a distinctive approach to fragrance retail. First he gives respected perfumers, such as Pierre Bourdon and Dominique Ropion, free rein to design their dream scents. Then he often fits his stores with exotic devices for testing fragrance; in Moscow, scent is sprayed into columns in which customers can place their heads."
At 320 square feet, the Moscow shop is larger than Malle's U.S. outlets, which average 215 square feet. All of his fragrances will be available here, and like at his other stores, the scents are displayed in refrigerators to keep them fresh.
But there's one major difference in Malle's Russian business: He isn't opening doors himself but is instead selling his fragrances through a distributor. "It's not home. There are people I don't know here and one must be humble," he explained.
Although Malle would not discuss sales projections, industry sources estimate the new shop-in-shop location will generate $1 million in retail sales during its first year.
Overall, Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle's revenues are expected to reach $10.3 million in 2007, versus $6.3 million in 2006, according to industry sources.
Malle revealed he plans to roll out a line of home fragrances in 2008.
— Alastair Gee