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Frette Opens 10th Store

Jennifer Marks, Staff Staff -- Home Textiles Today, October 13, 2008

When Frette opened its 10th freestanding store here this month the luxury brand took its first step toward presenting a new vision for the luxury brand.

Located in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the shop offers the full panoply of Frette's products: bedding, bath, lingerie, lounge apparel, accessories, gifts and travel items. The new flagship store scheduled to open this fall in Manhattan will follow the format, said ceo Paul Raffin.

The new merchandising thrust intends to establish Frette "as a true luxury lifestyle," he said. "The luxury customer is moving quickly toward more of a connoisseurship as opposed to conspicuous consumption."

The partnership with the Mandarin Oriental extends throughout every aspect of the Boston hotel's business. Beds in the hotel are dressed in Frette's Anna Sheeting in plain sateen, edged in yellow embroidered piping for standard rooms and grey piping for suites. Beds are topped in Frette's white Sabrina Sateen jacquard duvet covers. Frette huck-a-back weave towels and microfiber robes hang in the bathroom.

The Mandarin Spa also stocks Frette towels and robes. Frette has also contracted to furnish the Mandarin's food and beverage service with table linens, a deal that will include the Asana and L'Espalier restaurants and the M-Bar.

"We sell thousands of hotels and resorts internationally," said Raffin, adding that hotels like the Mandarin as as "a portal of [consumer] delivery to our home business."

Frette may also expand its brand presence internally next year by launching an e-commerce site for Europe. "Our web business is unbelievable," he said, noting the business is particularly valuable in reaching consumers where the brand doesn't have stores—especially in the Sunbelt and New England. The U.S. site already gets thousands of hits from around the world, he said.

"One of the challenges [for European sales] is bed sizes. We're trying to simplify some of that before we get Frette launched in Europe," he said.

Global initiatives don't signal dampened expectations for the U.S. market. "We are still such a small business and have a very small base of loyal customers," said Raffin. "For us, simply gaining new customers is growth."

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