April 12, 2019
Chico's FAS on Wednesday announced it will launch a new brand, an intimate apparel collection dubbed TellTale, targeting women ages 25 to 40.
TellTale, which debuts April 24 online only, will offer six bra silhouettes and matching undies in sizes 32A to 40DD and XS to XL, with most bras ranging in price from $39 to $49, according to a company press release. In addition to that core merchandise, the brand will feature monthly curated apparel, accessories and beauty, the company said.
Kimberly Grabel, TellTale's general manager and senior vice president of TellTale, lead the development of the line, according to the release. She has over 25 years of brand-building experience, most recently as senior vice president of marketing at the company's Soma lingerie brand, where she led the brand's repositioning. Before that she led marketing at luxury department stores Holt Renfrew and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Chico's has plenty of experience in the lingerie market. The company's Soma stores are some of its best performing, and the brand recently launched an innovative fit bra.
At the end of its latest quarter, Chico's FAS comps tumbled 3.8%. Store comps at Chico's fell 7.9%, at White House Black Market fell 2.9% and at Soma lingerie rose 6.2%. The women's apparel conglomerate earlier this year said that it was developing a new omnichannel plan to increase flexibility and efficiency across the organization, and announced a "retail fleet optimization plan" that will entail shuttering 250 stores over the next three years.
"TellTale allows us to target new customers and offer them a different experience than what we offer through our Soma brand intimate apparel," Mary van Praag, president of the intimate apparel group at Chico's FAS, said in a statement, adding that the company launched the brand "in start-up style, with a lean, dedicated team to allow for speed and agility."
But, while Chico's may be leveraging Soma's (and its previous marketing chief's) capabilities, it's also smart to keep TellTale out of those stores, according to Jane Hali, CEO of investment research firm Jane Hali & Associates. Soma stores cater to a much older audience than TellTale is targeting, Hali said.
"TellTale is focusing on millennials starting at age 25, and where do millennials buy — online!" she told Retail Dive in an email. "A digitally native line is a younger sell — the worst thing they could do is put it in their 'boomer' Soma stores. I'm a boomer but I avoid going in there, the experience ages me immediately. This retailer, as well as many others, are trying to take share from Victoria's Secret, which does not appear to be difficult. This new e-com platform can also be a way to enter the beauty business, which as you know is on fire."
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