The wave of international retailers arriving on Australian shores continues with Scandinavian fashions and homewares brand Marimekko revealing its plans to open stores in Australia.
The brand was started 60 years ago in Finland and features homewares, clothing, accessories and a children’s range, with 170 million euros in worldwide sales.
While Marimekko products have been available in Australia through other retailers since the early 1960s, the brand is now opening two company-run stores in Sydney and Melbourne in the next two months.
Both stores will be significant, with the Sydney store to occupy 300 square metres at 66 King Street next to the Louis Vuitton and Apple store. In Melbourne, Marimekko will open at 576 Chapel Street in a space of over 200 square metres.
The move to Australia follows Marimekko’s recent openings in New York, Boston, Hong Kong and franchised stores in Japan.
The brand has a total of 40 stores worldwide, with plans to bring that total to 90 through further openings.
Paul Alvarez, retail manager of Marimekko Australia, told SmartCompany the openings in Australia are part of a global strategy.
“We have so many historical sales and customers here, we do think it’s right. It’s just about reengaging with them again. We’ve had success in Asia with our offerings in Hong Kong and Japan, so this is the next step,” he says.
“Marimekko does not have an online offering in Australia and Alvarez acknowledges it may seem to be going against the trend to be opening bricks and mortar stores when many retailers are opening up online.
“We have such a large offering and I guess to really experience the brand it is great to be engrossed in it, coming into our stores we feel that you will have a great experience,” he says.
“We do fashion, interiors, textiles and accessories and we have an amazing kids’ range so from that we want to bring it back to old-fashioned customer service and having a great experience in our stores with great product.”
Alvarez believes the Australian market will respond well to Marimekko’s offering.
“Australia is becoming really design-orientated and Scandinavian is definitely in, anything from Nordic regions,” he says.
“Australians are just very open to new things and I feel that we embrace international brands.”
Marimekko will start with the two store openings and Alvarez says at the moment there are no plans for further expansion in Australia.
“The opening of these two stores is a significant step for us as we aim to build Marimekko into a stronger presence in Australia,” he says.
Brian Walker, retail specialist at the Retail Doctor Group, told SmartCompany the flagship sites selected by Marimekko mean the brand will really “make a statement”.
“Not dissimilar to the other global retailers who have recently come to Australia, Marimekko is established and it is expanding globally. They understand Australia and the growing cosmopolitan nature of the Australian market,” he says.
“Marimekko is looking for premium markets, very fashion-conscious markets with high disposable income.”