A Year on Fifth Avenue; Mango Weighs In

Though overseas retailers sometimes get tripped up entering the U.S, for Mango it’s been steady as she goes so far.

The Barcelona, Spain-based fashion brand has nine stores opened in the U.S. and is “on track” with its plan to have 40 stores operating in the U.S. by 2024, Daniel Lopez, Mango’s director of expansion and franchises, told WWD. At that time, Mango will announce a “phase two” in its U.S. expansion, Lopez said during an interview Tuesday.

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“We’re sticking to the plan. The opening of our Fifth Avenue flagship was the starting point of our expansion. We are going to have 20 stores in the U.S. at the end of this year and 20 stores will open at the end of next year.”

Currently, Mango operates nine stores in New York and Florida. Stores will open this year in Atlanta; Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, Texas; Los Angeles, and San Diego.

“We are not going to be one of those retailers with 800 or 900 stores,” in the U.S. “Absolutely not. That would be too many. We are gaining traction, so we think our capacity is much more than 40 stores.”

Daniel Lopez
Daniel Lopez

To further engage U.S. consumers, at the end of May, Mango will launch a SimonMiller x Mango capsule collection, raising the possibility of additional collaborations with U.S. designers and brands. Mango targets 20-to-40-year-old urban-oriented men and women, with its spirited, colorful collection and relatively moderate prices.

Mango, compared to other international fashion companies such as Zara and H&M, has been slow to penetrate the U.S., but believes the U.S. could be one of its top five markets in the world. Mango’s first foray into the U.S. was with its brand MNG by Mango in 450 JCPenney stores in 2010, but those were all closed by February 2016 because the merchandise did not resonate with JCPenney customers. Mango also had shops inside three New York-area Macy’s stores, and those shops also closed. Galeries Lafayette from France, Joe Fresh from Canada, and Takashimaya and Isetan from Japan, all opened and closed their stores in the U.S. in the past.

But a year-and-a-half ago, Mango returned to the U.S. with a new strategy and began selectively launching stores. The Fifth Avenue flagship opened exactly a year ago, on May 11, 2022.

“The store has performed above plan,” Lopez said, adding that it’s boosted the company’s confidence in its U.S. expansion plan. “We are executing online and offline.” Mango in the U.S. sells on its own website, on macys.com, nordstrom.com, and at its nine stores. Lopez declined to disclose any figures on the store’s volume or its foot traffic.

The Fifth Avenue flagship could have done better than it did were it not for the scaffolding, Lopez suggested. “It was recently removed, but it was there for 75 percent of our first year on the avenue. This made it a little bit more difficult for our visibility, to get customers in,” Lopez said.

Fifth Avenue, he said, “suffered dramatically during the pandemic,” though the openings of Mango’s flagship and Tiffany’s re-imagined flagship “reaffirms” the commitment to the famous thoroughfare.

Among the best-sellers in year one, menswear, trench coats and formal wear were cited.

Mango has traffic counters at the entrance of its stores, counting those going in and out. For those Mango stores in the U.S. opened for more than a year, the footfall is increasing more than double digits, Lopez said. The flagship he characterized as “essentially a touristic store.”

The three-level, 22,600-square-foot flagship, situated at 711 Fifth Avenue, wraps around the northeast corner of 55th Street and is designed with arches to separate different areas. It has four large windows on Fifth Avenue, affording natural light and views into the interior, and terraces on the upper floors. The first two levels house the women’s merchandise, and the third level is for menswear, where there is a tailoring station.

In Canada, there are 90 Mango shops inside Hudson’s Bay department stores, as well as four freestanding stores in Toronto. Another four stores in Toronto are expected to open this year.

“We are taking huge advantage of the information that our online platform provides in terms of where our customer base [is]. It provides great guidance to determine which communities to target,” with stores, said Lopez. Mango started operating online in the U.S. in March 2006.

“We believe opening stores is the number-one marketing tool we have to engage relationships with our customers,” Lopez said.

Mango is a vertical retailer, meaning it designs, develops and markets its products, all of which bear the Mango label. Mango breaks out two major collections a year, for spring and fall, which continually get refreshed with new items.

Lopez said he hopes that Fifth Avenue becomes pedestrian-only.

Mayor Eric Adams last December disclosed a proposal to make Fifth Avenue from 42nd Street to 59th Street a pedestrian-centered area that also prioritizes mass transit, ride-sharing services and cyclists, with additional green space, and wider sidewalks.

“The purpose is to make it more enjoyable and relaxed for people walking by, as if they were in an open-air mail,” said Lopez. “From the perspective of the customer, it’s the right direction to go, either year-long or some part of the year.”

The Mango look.
The Mango look.

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