Zenith CEO pledges to re-connect with retail channel, not build own-brand boutiques

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Julien Tornare, the incoming CEO of LVMH watchmaker Zenith, says he has no plans to build a global network of owned boutiques.

The new boss, who was appointed by CEO of TAG Heuer and President of LVMH Watch Division Jean-Claude Biver in April, believes that opening boutiques is full of risk, and that working more effectively with retail partners is better business.

“I think it’s illusory to consider building huge shopping temples for the brand and opening boutiques for our image. We have to respect the retailers, because they are the ones who have built up the industry over the past 20 years,” Mr Tornare said in an interview with World Tempus.

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Mr Tornare spent 17 years of his working life at Vacheron Constantin, most recently heading the Asia-Pacific region where he managed 13 boutiques for the Richemont brand.

That experience, particularly in recent years as Asian markets have slowed, appears to have influenced his thinking for Zenith.

“A lot of brands have neglected the retailers and I think they will start coming back to them. Own-brand stores are great when they work, but when business takes a turn for the worse then they start to cost a lot of money. In any case, Zenith simply doesn’t have the financial resources to open 20 stores around the world,” he said.

Zenith works mainly with major multiples in the UK including Beaverbrooks, Watches of Switzerland and Ernest Jones, and does not have an own-brand boutique.

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Rob Corder

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