HOUSTON, Nov. 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Launched just 10 years ago, fashion jewelry and accessories retailer Charming Charlie is on the move. With nearly $500M in sales and over 330 domestic stores across 42 states, today the company announced several new strategic initiatives to drive continuous growth.
Charming Charlie will be opening another 55 stores next year, including its first New York City store in April 2015. At 16,000 square feet, the three-level flagship is set to be the largest of the brand's stores worldwide. Situated at 445 Fifth Avenue at 39th Street, the Charming Charlie flagship will be a showcase for the retailer's new store concept. Designed in partnership with Callison architects, key elements will include a two-story, 30 foot tall glass facade with an LED illuminated exterior that adds vivid color and movement to the storefront, 20 foot tall double doors in the brand's signature vibrant pink lacquer, and a classic residential-style interior that mixes feminine, mid-century accents with luxe materials and whimsical details.
Known for offering a wide array of affordable fashion accessories merchandised by color, the New York City store will carry the full range of product including fashion jewelry, handbags, small leather goods, scarves, watches, sunglasses, select footwear and apparel, a special occasion collection, and more. Delivering on the company's mission to provide high style and unrivaled value, retail prices range from $5 to $150 for select limited edition items. The new flagship will also house the brand's PR office and showroom.
"We are thrilled to announce our move into New York City," said Charlie Chanaratsopon, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Charming Charlie. "It is especially fitting that this announcement comes as we celebrate our 10 year anniversary."
Charming Charlie also announced news today regarding its global expansion. The retailer opened its first stores outside of the U.S. last week, both in Canada's Ontario province (Brampton and Vaughn). Two additional Canadian stores are scheduled to open imminently in British Columbia (Victoria and Surrey). The company has also signed its first international licensing agreement to open stores outside of North America in a partnership deal with Apparel Group UAE. The agreement will result in Charming Charlie stores opening throughout the Middle East in 2015, within the countries of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. Apparel Group UAE is a leading fashion conglomerate headquartered in Dubai that operates over 950 retail stores and employs over 9,000 people across four continents. This partnership marks an important step in Charming Charlie's international strategy and signals the beginning of a significant transformation to come as the company evolves from a U.S. retailer into a global brand with a worldwide audience.
To fuel the company's growth, Mr. Chanaratsopon has put a strong leadership team in place. In addition to Steve Lovell, who joined the company as President in 2006 and who has been an instrumental force in its rapid growth and success, Chanaratsopon has made several new additions to the company's leadership team, including retail veterans Tom Fitzgerald, Toni Robinson, Britton Russell, Kristen Dykstra and most recently, Jody Austin. Rounding out the executive team are Melissa Whitehead who joined in 2012 as Senior Vice President of Stores after serving in various leadership roles at Ulta, Banana Republic and Victoria's Secret, and John Hnanicek who also joined in 2012 as Chief Information Officer.
"We are delighted to welcome these strong leaders to the Charming Charlie team," said Chanaratsopon. "We are certain that their combined expertise will be invaluable during this next phase of growth and expansion."
Tom Fitzgerald, named Chief Financial Officer & Chief Administrative Officer, brings over 30 years of experience in executive leadership, operations and finance. Before joining Charming Charlie, Fitzgerald was Chief Administrative Officer at Sears Canada, a $4 billion multi-channel, multi-format retailer. In earlier leadership roles, he was Chief Executive Officer at Lucky Brand Jeans, Chief Operating Officer of Direct Brands at Liz Claiborne, and Chief Financial Officer & Chief Operating Officer at Bath & Body Works. Fitzgerald also held various leadership roles at PepsiCo, Inc., where he served for over a decade.
Toni Robinson was appointed Senior Vice President of Planning and Allocation. Prior to joining Charming Charlie, Robinson served as Senior Vice President of Planning and Allocation at Chico's FAS, and as Vice President of Planning and Allocation at Bath & Body Works.
Britton Russell recently joined the company as Chief Supply Chain Officer, overseeing Sourcing, Logistics, Distribution, and Customer Service. Prior to joining Charming Charlie, Russell most recently served as Senior Vice President of Global Operations at Michael Kors where he led the expansion of Distribution in the U.S. and Europe. Prior to Kors, he was VP of Supply Chain at Mexx, led the global sourcing organization at The Home Depot, and served for ten years as Partner at Kurt Salmon Associates. Russell began his career at Nike.
Kristen Dykstra joins the team as Chief Marketing Officer. Most recently, Dykstra was Chief Marketing Officer at Halston. Prior to that, she served as the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Ann Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer at Kenneth Cole Productions, and Senior Vice President of Marketing & PR at BCBG Max Azria Group where she served for over a decade and played an instrumental role in building the company from a $200 million retailer into a multi-billion dollar portfolio of brands.
As the newest addition to the team, Jody Austin joins the company this week as Chief Merchandising Officer. Bringing 30 years of industry expertise, Austin was previously Executive Vice President GMM, Merchandising at Victoria's Secret Direct and Vice President GMM, Merchandising at Liz Claiborne Inc. She also served as SVP Product Design & Development at Banana Republic where she contributed to tripling the business over her seven years with the company.
These key executive hires reflect the company's focus on transforming Charming Charlie from "the best kept secret" into a global brand through a heightened focus on product and value, store experience, and building brand awareness through elevated creative campaigns and marketing.
In other news, in October the company celebrated its one year anniversary of its online store at www.charmingcharlie.com. The current website reflects the company's initial foray into ecommerce, and its quick success has made it a focal point for growth and an elevated experience in 2015.
About CHARMING CHARLIE
Growing up in the jewelry business with an upbringing immersed in commerce, Charlie Chanaratsopon always had the idea that he would one day create a retail establishment that catered to women who loved accessories. He incubated the women's fashion accessory concept in 2004 by creating a unique company that brings value to its customers by providing them with high quality style, affordable price points, a broad assortment of product, and stores merchandised by color rather than category. What began as a retail space one floor below the family business in Houston, TX, has since expanded to become a growing concept in shopping centers and malls across the country. For more information, visit www.charmingcharlie.com.
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SOURCE Charming Charlie