Juicy Couture Plots International Expansion

Azerbaijan will get a freestanding store before the U.S. does.
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Chantal Fernandez
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Azerbaijan will get a freestanding store before the U.S. does.
A now shuttered Juicy Couture store in New York City, photographed in 2010. Photo: Joe Kohen/Getty Images for TEEN VOGUE

A now shuttered Juicy Couture store in New York City, photographed in 2010. Photo: Joe Kohen/Getty Images for TEEN VOGUE

Juicy Couture has yet to recapture its appeal with American customers — who, undoubtedly, still associate it with velour track suits — but the brand may not need our business to survive, thanks to international demand for its girly California aesthetic. 

A representative for Authentic Brands Group, which bought Juicy Couture in 2013, confirmed, Tuesday, that it is planning to open 31 Juicy Couture stores in 2015 with distribution partners in eight countries, including India, South Africa and Azerbaijan, in addition to countries where the brand already has standalone stores, like South Korea and Mexico. At this time, the brand operates 199 stores overseas, not including outlets and shops inside department stores. The company plans to open 133 stores over the next five years, bringing the total to 335 worldwide. WWD originally reported the news.

ABG first noted last April that overseas demand for Juicy, particularly its loungewear and childrenswear categories, was increasing. To that end, it will open the first Juicy Couture Girls store in Azerbaijan this spring. The company is also opening stores throughout Asia via a partnership with Asian retailer ImagineX Group. 

After ABG bought Juicy Couture for $195 million, it promptly shut down every one of the brand's U.S. stores, save for three outposts that remain at New York's JFK Airport. The company has not yet announced any plans to open more in the States. 

The brand's apparel, fragrances and timepieces are now referred to as Juicy Couture Black Label. The Black Label apparel and accessories are only sold online and at freestanding stores. Fragrances and timepieces have wider retail reach. Separately, Kohl's designs and sells its own Juicy Couture Collection. The brand is also expanding into footwear through a licensing agreement with Steve Madden, the fruits of which have recently debuted online and in stores. ABG CEO Jamie Salter said in video in February that fragrance had been selling "extremely well" and that the company is emphasizing accessories, including backpacks, small leather goods, jewelry and watches for fall 2015.

Juicy Couture was founded in 1997 by Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor in Los Angeles. The duo left in 2010, seven years after it was acquired by Fifth & Pacific Company Inc., now called Kate Spade Inc. ABG also owns brands Hickey Freeman, Judith Leiber Couture and Sportscraft, among others.