WHP Global, a global brand management firm, has revealed plans to take the Express brand to new global markets such as Indonesia and Paraguay, and expand its presence in Mexico and Central America.
Last January, Express and WHP Global entered into a strategic partnership that included an intellectual property joint venture intended to scale the Express brand through new domestic category licensing and international expansion opportunities.
WHP Global’s international strategy for Express includes a full omnichannel launch starting in 2024, with the opening of flagships and e-commerce channels featuring women’s and men’s apparel as well as select categories including footwear, intimates and accessories. A robust shop-in-shop concept will be introduced in Mexico and Indonesia.
As part of the plans, WHP Global has signed long-term licensing deals to bring the Express brand to Indonesia with PT MAP, Paraguay with Kemsa, and Mexico with IB Group, a new anchor retail partner in the territory. In addition, WHP Global entered into a license agreement with existing Express International partner Fastco to grow the brand’s retail footprint in Central America with the opening of four new Express retail flagships in key locations through 2026.
“Bringing the Express brand into new and emerging markets is our first major move for the brand since entering into a strategic partnership with Express to scale the iconic fashion brand and expand its international reach,” said Yehuda Shmidman, WHP Global chairman and chief executive. “We are excited to bring on a strong network of best-in-class retail companies in these key markets as we embark on the next chapter in the evolution of the Express brand.”
Last December, WHP Global said it planned to invest $260 million into Express as part of a two-part deal that allows the retailer to scale internationally, add categories by way of licensing deals and create a platform to acquire more brands. WHP invested $235 million for a 60 percent stake in the intellectual property joint venture. Express retained a 40 percent stake. WHP also purchased $25 million worth of Express common stock through a common equity PIPE (private investment in public equity).
At present, there are more than 530 Express retail and Express Factory Outlet stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, as well as express.com online store and the Express mobile app.
WHP owns such brands as Anne Klein, Joseph Abboud, Joe’s Jeans, Bonobos, Isaac Mizrahi, Lotto, Toys ‘R’ Us, and Babies ‘R’ Us. The company signed an agreement to acquire the G-Star Raw brand. Collectively WHP’s brands generate more than $7 billion in global retail sales.