Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Retail Marketing: Playboy mates with brand store trend

Playboy Enterprises, Inc. has opened its first freestanding Playboy Concept Boutique in the United States at The Forum Shops at Caesars in Las Vegas. The 2,000 square-foot store offers a collection of Playboy apparel, accessories and lingerie. The Las Vegas location also will offer one-of-a-kind Playboy memorabilia items, select artwork, and vintage product from Playboy's vast archives. The store will be a template for Playboy's future stores, as well as retail concessions and lingerie areas.

"Playboy strategically selected the Forum Shops at Caesars in Las Vegas to debut our first U. S. store because it is one of the most successful retail shopping destinations in the world, in one of the most visited cities in the world," commented Christie Hefner, Chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, Inc. "With our Playboy Boutique and the opening of our Playboy branded entertainment-destination in Las Vegas in early '06, it is clear that Playboy and Las Vegas are a powerful match, presenting the chance for consumers and visitors to experience all of the glamour, sexiness, style and fun associated with both."

The Playboy Boutique, whose concept was developed by the WalkerGroup, offers a unique shopping experience to Playboy fans. ids architects, inc. who have also developed stores for brands such as Rolex and LeSportsac was responsible for the store design. Unlike traditional retailers, the Playboy "Concept" boutique emphasizes a design-driven look, inspired by the spirit of the Playboy brand and representing concepts inherent to the iconic brand. Its fixturing was purpose-developed for Playboy, making the architectural elements "concepts" unto themselves, with furniture and fixtures inspired by Playboy iconography, such as cufflink-detailed tables and Rabbit Head chairs.

Other design details that enable shoppers to immerse themselves in the Playboy lifestyle include, a plasma-screen video wall featuring archival and contemporary footage and a customized pebble cash-point countertop inspired by rocks from the Playboy Mansion Grotto. Evoking the sexiness of the Playboy brand a stand-alone lingerie area sells Playboy's "Pink Label" and will house Playboy's sophisticated "White Label" lingerie collections, showcased on the mirrored tile walls and complimented with satin quilted upper walls. The memorabilia area of the boutique offers one-of-a-kind artifacts for sale from Playboy archives and Hugh Hefner's personal memorabilia collection, including his pipe and slippers, vintage Bunny Costumes, and paintings and sketches from Alberto Vargas and LeRoy Neiman, respectively all showcased in museum-style cases.

The first U.S. retail location follows Playboy's successful 2002 launch of its freestanding Playboy Tokyo fashion boutique, which in was recognized as one of 40 top stores in the world by the Retail Leaders Association. The Las Vegas opening also leverages Playboy's expansion at retail in specialty stores and leading department stores throughout the United States, Asia and Europe. Retail stores that have carried Playboy fashion merchandise include Henri Bendel in New York, Colette in Paris, Selfridges in London, and Seibu in Hong Kong. The next freestanding Playboy store, a 2,300 square-foot store on Chapel Street, Melbourne, one of Australia's premier fashion areas, will open in fall 2005.

Playboy's branded line of licensed fashion and consumer products has experienced growth at retail since its repositioning in 1999, with a product offering that includes men's and women's fashion apparel and accessories, underwear, legwear, outerwear and footwear, as well as home furnishings and lifestyle and entertainment products. Playboy's licensed products business as a whole now generates in excess of $500 million in global retail sales in more than 130 countries and territories.

Branded merchandise sells. Sexy sells. What more can we say?

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