Boston Proper President On The Brand’s Future under Chico’s

Aug 25, 2011 12:45 AM  By

When women’s apparel merchant Chico’s acquired women’s apparel cataloger Boston Proper for $205 million last week, many industry experts figured this meant retail stores loomed on the horizon.

Boston Proper president Sheryl Clark says that’s not necessarily the case, however—at least anytime soon.

“Right now we are focused on our direct-to-consumer business,” she says. “There is tremendous opportunity to leverage Chico’s expertise and resources around circulation analysis and digital marketing – not to mention leveraging costs on both back-of-the-house and paper and printing.”

But Clark isn’t ruling out retail altogether for Boston Proper. “We do believe there is an opportunity for boutiques, and using Chico’s expertise will help us do this in a way that allows us to mirror the brand’s exotic and unique catalog/web experience in the boutiques,” she says.

Chico’s acquired Boston Proper because its brand focus “is highly complementary to that of the Chico’s existing brands’ customer experience,” Clark says. “All of the brands serve a similar demographic: affluent $100,000 household income women in the 35-plus age range, but each brand is distinctly positioned with minimal customer overlap, providing us an opportunity to grow our market share.”

What’s more, Clark says the two companies are well aligned culturally, with both focusing on high-quality merchandise and personal service, supported by building lifetime relationships with customers.

After the deal closes, there will be some consolidation of certain back-end operations, she notes, “but it’s too early in the process to have this all worked out.”