In January 2018 textile group Ricon ceased its operations, a development which also entailed the shuttering of Gant’s 20 Portuguese retail locations. Now the brand is coming back for a second shot at the Portuguese market. This time round, Gant Portugal will be part of the Gant Group, along with the company’s subsidiaries in Sweden, the UK, France, the US, Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg), Switzerland, Austria and Germany.
Brian Grevy, Gant CEO since June 2018, when Patrik Nilsson stepped down from the role, told FashionNetwork.com that the brand will be investing heavily in the Portuguese market over the next few years. “We have a clear plan to invest in developing a significant retail chain, as well as in shop-in-shop solutions with our principal wholesale partners. We’re also going to be investing in branding activities in order to connect more closely with Portuguese consumers and offer a compelling consumer experience,” he said.
In a press release, Gant explained that its plans include the opening of five stores, and distribution in both major department stores, such as El Corte Inglés and Marques Soares, and in a number of multi brand retail locations. Gant Portugal opened its first company-owned store in the Oeiras Parque mall in the suburbs of Lisbon on 12 April, and will open a second location in the Portuguese capital’s Centro Comercial Amoreiras at the beginning of June. The remaining stores, the locations of which have not yet been announced, should open sometime between autumn of this year and the beginning of 2019.
Describing Portugal as “an important market for Gant for various reasons,” Grecy stated in a press release that the company is happy to be returning to the country. “Many of our best products are manufactured there and it’s a market where the brand is already well established and valued. We have a lot of loyal customers there,” he explained.
Having first launched in Portugal in the 1990s, Gant has built up a strong customer base in the country over the years. The company’s CEO told FashionNetwork.com that he is confident that the brand will be able to “regain its former market share,” thanks to the good reputation it has among Portuguese consumers. “With this and our investments in both branding activities and direct-to-consumer channels, we are confident that we will build a strong Gant brand in the Portuguese market, which will outperform the decades of success that we have already seen in the country.”
In order to “strengthen the market, reinforce the team and lead the next stage of development,” Gant has promoted Martin Mattson, formerly the company’s global business development director, to the role of managing director of Gant Iberia. In his new position, Mattson will be responsible for “starting a transition from operations approached from a global perspective to a local focus.”
Now based in Sweden, Gant was founded on the East Coast of the United States in 1949 and creates premium men’s, women’s and kid’s apparel, as well as accessories and home decor pieces. Currently the brand is present in more than 70 markets through 750 company-owned stores and some 4,000 other points of sale.