The US has become a key new international expansion target for UK clothing brand Seasalt. With New Zealand having been the focus for 2023, the Cornish casualwear brand has now unveiled ambitious plans to enter the vast North American market from next June with a three-year target for 20 solely-Seasalt-operated stores.
The expansion will be led by Jason McNary who joins the team as consulting director (North America), reporting to CEO Paul Hayes.
The first store will be within the New England area with an initial focus on the north-east region and the eastern seaboard in particular. Up to three further store locations are expected to be confirmed next year.
Hayes said: “Today marks a milestone moment for Seasalt as we announce our intention to open our first Seasalt stores in North America.
He noted its strategy for its market entry “has been in development for some time now” having established a strong foundation in the country through an online partnership with US retailer Belk “as a springboard to accelerate our expansion”.
Belk will continue to sell the brand through its digital channels and will also launch Seasalt in a number of key bricks and mortar stores next year. A dedicated Seasalt US website will also go live next summer.
Hayes added: “Our unique… offering will bring something new and exciting to customers in America and we’re confident that our reputation for exceptional customer service, together with the inherent creativity and quality of our product, sets us up for success.”
But he noted: “There’s a great deal of work ahead of us but the response from US customers so far has been incredibly positive. Having a physical presence – hubs from where the Seasalt brand can grow – is really important.”
Meanwhile, New York-based McNary joins Seasalt with extensive experience in the fashion sector. The retailer described him as a “proven leader and is well-known for his deep expertise in [direct to customer] brands and the ability to build brands globally”.
He was most recently CEO of Spanish jewellery brand UNOde50, and was previously president at French fashion designer brand Agnés B from 2015 to 2017.
The shift in focus to North America comes after Seasalt opened seven stores across the UK, Ireland and New Zealand (its first internationally in association with department store retailer Ballantynes) over the past 12 months. The latest opening in Kenmare, Ireland, this month, took its portfolio total to 73 stores.
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