The interview


Underwear. “Hunkemöller is in advanced talks to sign a franchising agreement in India”



Philip Mountford, the CEO of Hunkemöller, previously worked for Mos Bross Group, Gianni Versace and Nautica luxury retailers


    In the lingerie sector -a brand-oriented market by essence- specialty stores are facing an increasing competition from low-end retailers and e-commerce. Global Retail News met Philip Mountford, the CEO of Hunkemöller, Northern Europe’s largest lingerie specialty retailer.


    Global Retail News: Can you please present us Hunkemöller?

    Philip Mountford: Hunkemöller is the largest lingerie retailer by sales in the Netherlands and in Belgium. Founded in Amsterdam in 1886, the firm has expanded into Belgium and Germany in the 1980s, and later in France, Denmark and Russia in the 2000s. In 2013, it reported a turnover of €400 million up by 10%, as net margin reached 12% of net sales. Hunkemöller runs 600 stores in 16 countries (Western Europe, Russia, Morocco, Egypt & Saudi Arabia). It is one of the fastest expanding lingerie chains in Europe. Store network is expected to add 100 units in 2014, to total 700 stores.


  • What are the characteristics of the lingerie retail market?

    Lingerie is an exquisitely personal product. It relates directly to women’s privacy, intimate perception of the body and attraction to others. Each country has very specific social or religious rules. In China, red signifies wedding, and white signifies bereavement. French women are very informed and experienced with lingerie, via historic brands such as Simone Perele and Chantelle. Americans, however, tend to be more strictly traditional, despite some brands like Victoria Secret. Morphologies vary by country, with larger bra sizes in Northern Europe than in the South.


What is your largest product category?

Lingerie generates 53% of turnover, followed by nightwear (16%). According to research, we found out that 80% of women wear the wrong bra size. Hunkemöller sells specific cut shapes suiting all morphologies in various countries. We also have "HKMX", a sport private label including lingerie sets and fitness apparel, and "Sweet Heart", a range dedicated to 13 to 16 girls buying their first bras.


Where are your products made?

90% are sourced from Far East Asia, to ensure good value for money. The remaining 10% come from European countries, allowing us to be responsive to trends. Our team designs 95% of the range.



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Page 5

Hamburg hosts Ikea’s first urban store.

Page 6

USA. Deutsche Bank invests in a quality shopping mall.

Page 7

Saudi Arabia prevents single men from shopping over the weekend at many Riyadh and Jeddah centres.


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Carrefour, Wal-Mart and Casino expand in the Sub Saharan region.


Page 9

China. Best Buy reviews the sale of 190 units and options with a local partner.


Page 10

CBRE study. What were the most attractive retail locations in 2013?