In celebration of its 10-year anniversary, Houston-based retailer Charming Charlie is coming to a store near you. The $500 million company is in the midst of an aggressive plan to expand its retail presence domestically and internationally. “We’re opening about 55 stores a year. Every week, we’re opening another unit around the country,” said 37-year-old founder and CEO Charlie Chanaratsopon.
In November 2014, Chanaratsopon kicked off his plan by opening the first Charming Charlie stores outside the U.S. in Brampton and Vaughan, both in Canada’s Ontario province. Two additional stores in British Columbia (Victoria and Surrey) followed shortly after.
Tomorrow, Charming Charlie will reach another milestone. The retailer will debut its first New York flagship in a 16,000-square-foot shopping enclave at 445 Fifth Avenue by 39th Street. The three-level store will carry a full range of products, from jewelry and handbags to footwear and apparel at prices ranging from $5 to $150. The new flagship will also house the PR office and showroom. To date, it’s the company’s largest retail space worldwide. “If I had a magic wand and could project Manhattan rents, we would have opened in 2009!” joked Chanaratsopon.
Charming Charlie has also signed its first international licensing agreement to open stores outside of North America in a partnership deal with Dubai-based fashion conglomerate Apparel Group UAE. Throughout 2015, stores will launch throughout the Middle East, within the countries of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. “We’re building now, so we should be opening the first two stores in Dubai in July,” said Chanaratsopon. “Dubai’s tourism and foot traffic over the last six or seven years is staggering. We think the Middle East can be over 100 stores, which is a pretty decent sized market for us. In addition to the Middle East, we’re taking our first steps into Asia. In the fall, we should be opening our first flagship in the Philippines. It’s a pretty exciting growth pattern for us.”
As for those IPO rumors, don’t count on it just yet. “We’re staying focused to make sure we can deliver value to our customer base,” said Chanaratsopon. “Is it on the horizon? I’m not going to say no. But it’s not our objective right now.”
To celebrate Charming Charlie’s New York flagship, the retailer is hosting an invite-only reception on June 3 at the store from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in partnership with Glamour and Step Up. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Step Up’s mentorship programs.
“Our customer always describes us as their best-kept secret,” said Chanaratsopon. “With 347 stores operating in 42 states, we’re not really under the radar. We want to build a brand that’s larger than our business. It’s time to announce that we’re here.”