Esprit is a leading retailer of American-style casual clothing and sportswear. Few other fashion businesses can boast such a cosmopolitan heritage. It was founded in San Francisco in 1968 by Susie & Doug Tomkins (the latter also co-founder of climbing outfitter The North Face), as a contemporary of The Gap. Later, in the 1980s, it became closely associated with avant-garde Italian design after it commissioned Italian architect Ettore Sottsass, founder of the Memphis design group, to model its interiors and its European headquarters. Now it's headquartered in Hong Kong (but registered in Bermuda), and does the largest proportion of its business by far in Germany. In its heyday in the 1980s it was a pioneer in casual affordable American-style leisurewear before being overtaken by a string of rivals. Its own sales peaked at around $4.7bn in 2008 before going into a sharp decline. The struggling US business was gradually eclipsed by its faster-growing European operations, prompting the group to withdraw from North America altogether in 2011. A year later, Esprit's chairman and CEO both resigned on the same day as a result of further poor performance. Former Inditex executive Jose Manuel Martinez Gutierrez is now CEO. Revenues for year ending 2016 were around $2.2bn. Germany now accounts for almost half of revenues, and Western Europe as a whole for 85%. The group manages its own network of around 760 wholly-owned stores in addition to wholesale outlets. Subscribers may access account assignments and contact information. The searchable account assignments database is available to full subscribers to Adbrands.net premium services. Click here to access Adbrands account assignments (subscribers only); or see here for information on how to subscribe.
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Capsule checked 10th March 2017
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