Lacoste

Infobox_Company
company_name = Lacoste
company_
company_type = Private
company_slogan =
foundation = 1933
location = Corporate: Paris, France Distribution: Troyes, France
key_people =
num_employees =
industry = Retail
products = Apparel, Shoes, Perfumes
revenue =
homepage = [http://www.lacoste.com/ www.lacoste.com]

Lacoste is a French apparel company founded in 1933 that sells high-end clothing, footwear, perfume, leather goods, watches, eyewear, and most famously, tennis shirts. The company can be recognized by its green crocodile logo.

Company Info

The company is currently run by the Lacoste family. Procter and Gamble is license-holder for the fragrance line.Lacoste is headquartered in Paris. Lacoste currently has its production capital in Troyes, France, though they delegate production of international clothing to numerous factories in over 12 countries around the world, including those found in Peru, Morocco, Indonesia, Romania and Italy. After a 2 year search in the Central American region, Lacoste established production for its US customers in the Miramar Free Trade Zone in El Salvador. El Salvador operations will be managed by a new the local subsidiary Textil El Salvador (TRANS).

History

After he retired from tennis, René Lacoste founded "La Chemise Lacoste" in 1933 with André Gillier, the owner and President of the largest French knitwear manufacturing firm at the time. They began to produce the revolutionary tennis shirt Lacoste had designed and worn on the tennis courts with the alligator logo embroidered on the chest, serving as the first example of a brand name appearing on the outside of an article of clothing. [ [http://www.lacoste.com/library/pdf/LACOSTE_history_histoire.pdf Lacoste history] ] In addition to tennis shirts, Lacoste produced shirts for golf and sailing. In 1951, the company began to expand as it branched from "tennis white" and introduced color shirts. In 1952 the shirts were exported to the United States and advertised as "the status symbol of the competent sportsman", influencing the clothing choices of the upper-class. In 1963, Bernard Lacoste took over the management of the company from his father René. Significant company growth was seen under Bernard's management. When he became president, around three hundred thousand Lacoste products were sold annually. The Lacoste brand reached its height of popularity in the US during the late 1970s and became the signature 1980's "preppy" wardrobe item, even getting mentioned in Lisa Birnbach's "Official Preppy Handbook" of 1980. The company also began to introduce other products into their line including shorts, perfume, optical and sunglasses, tennis shoes, deck shoes, walking shoes, watches, and various leather goods.

In the United States in the 1970s and 1980s, Izod and Lacoste were often used interchangeably because starting in the 1950s, Izod produced clothing known as Izod Lacoste under license for sale in the U.S. This partnership ended in 1993, when Lacoste regained exclusive U.S. rights to distribute shirts under its own brand. In 1977, Le Tigre Clothing was founded in an attempt to directly compete with Lacoste in the US market, selling a similar array of apparel, but featuring a tiger in place of the signature Lacoste alligator.

More recently, Lacoste's popularity has surged due to French designer Christophe Lemaire’s work to create a more modern, upscale look. In 2005, almost fifty million Lacoste products sold in over one hundred and ten countries. Its visibility has increased due to the contracts between Lacoste and several young tennis players, including American tennis star Andy Roddick and French rising young prospect Richard Gasquet. Lacoste has also begun to increase its presence in the golf world, where noted 2 time Master champion, José María Olazábal and Scottish golfer Colin Montgomerie have been seen sporting Lacoste shirts in tournaments.

Bernard Lacoste became seriously ill in early 2005, which led him to transfer the presidency of Lacoste to his younger brother and closest collaborator for many years, Michel Lacoste. Bernard died in Paris on March 21, 2006.

As of 2006, Lacoste licenses its trademark to various companies. For example, Devanlay owns the exclusive worldwide clothing license, Pentland Brands has the exclusive worldwide license to produce Lacoste footwear, Procter & Gamble owns the exclusive worldwide license to produce fragrance, and Samsonite holds the worldwide license to produce Lacoste bags and small leather goods.

In June 2007, Lacoste introduced their very first e-commerce site [http://shopapparel.lacoste.com] for the US market.

Brand management

In the early fifties René Lacoste teamed up with David Crystal, who at the time owned Izod, to produce Izod Lacoste clothing. In the 1970s and 1980s it was extremely popular with teenagers who called the shirts simply Izod. While the union was both profitable and popular, Izod Lacoste's parent company (David Crystal Co.) was saddled with debt from other buisness ventures. When attempts to seperate Izod and Lacoste to create revenue did not alleviate the debt Crystal sold his half of Lacoste to a french company, and Izod was sold to UK/US shirtmaker Van Heusen.

However, starting in 2000, with the hiring of a new fashion designer, Christopher Lemaire, Lacoste began to take over control of its brand name and logo, reining in their branding arrangements. Now, Lacoste has once again returned to the elite status it held before a brand management crisis circa 1990.

Lacoste had a long standing dispute over the logo and clothing lines with Crocodile Garments. Crocodile uses a crocodile logo that faces left while Lacoste uses one that faces right. The two fought for the logo rights in China which was won by Crocodile in 2003. Crocodile in return agreed to change its logo to have a more vertical tail and more scales for its logo. [ [http://edition.cnn.com/2003/BUSINESS/10/31/crocodile.logo CNN.com - Crocodile tears end logo fight - Oct. 31, 2003 ] ]

Retailers of the brand

Lacoste operates a large number of Lacoste boutiques worldwide; located as concessions in leading department stores and also as independent venue stores. In the UK, Lacoste is available from many leading high-end shops including KJ Beckett and John Lewis Partnership. Likewise in the US, the Lacoste brand can be found in stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale's, Macy's, and other independent retailers. In Canada, Lacoste is sold in Harry Rosen,its own boutiques, and other independent retailers. In Australia, Lacoste is sold in David Jones.

As of June 2007, Lacoste's online presence allows Americans to purchase clothing and have items shipped directly to their doors. The online store offers sizes and options not found in brick and mortar stores, along with a large sale section.

ee also

* Crocodile Garments
* Croc O' Shirt
* Izod Lacoste
* Izod

References


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