MONTBLANC WRITES BOUTIQUE STRATEGY

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Sales of luxury goods are booming, and that's writing nothing but good fortunes for German pen manufacturer, Montblanc, which plans to open 100 specialty boutiques worldwide in the next two years.

"It's not necessarily that consumers are spending more," said Stanislas de Quercize, CEO of Montblanc North America, "but they are becoming much more selective."

The new stores will join more than 30 existing boutiques. The new shops mark the first free-standing stores for Montblanc in North America, with 24 planned in all.

The boutiques feature the entire Montblanc line of writing instruments, high quality paper goods, and the recently introduced line of leather goods. Each store has an antique writing desk so that customers can try out products in the appropriate environs.

The official launch of the North American boutiques will be Nov. 6, when Montblanc opens its 600-square-foot flagship store in New York, featuring an exhibition of Jill Krementz photos of famous writers. "They were looking for an event to open these stores and when they saw my photographs they felt that it was a good fit," Ms. Krementz said.

Stores opened in Boston and Chicago in July and August, but Montblanc planned no publicity campaign around them.

It was "sort of like opening off-Broadway," said Gen Shore, senior manager of Montblanc agency Waring & LaRosa, New York.

The print campaign for all three stores is built around the Nov. 6 opening date

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