J.B. Martin has come up with a higher-priced line of shoes, called J. B. Martin Signature, for spring-summer 2012. Made at factories in Italy and Spain, the styles are about 30 percent more expensive than those of the regular line, which is made in Bulgaria, Portugal and Spain.
The French company has also launched two lines of children's shoes under the Kenzo and Eden Park brands, which it licenses already for adults. A dedicated sales force has been set up for its children's lines, which it had been developing so far under another licensed brand, Elle.
Its French factory at Fougères continues to assemble prototypes and a few short runs, but most of the facilities have been transformed into a large distribution center. Operations at the plant, which once employed more than 1,000 workers, have been gradually outsourced. Only 60 workers had remained on the production lines lately.
At the same time, the French company, which had sales of about €50 million last year, is developing a store franchising program, starting in Russia and Switzerland. It has just opened its 11th corporate store in Belgium.
These and other initiatives are led by Stéphane Baudrey, who has been in charge of the company's retail and wholesale networks since the beginning of 2009. He has now taken responsibility also for operations following the recent departure of François Favier. Baudrey is the Number Two in the hiararchy after J.B. Martin's chairman and chief executive, Claude-Eric Paquin, sharing an expanded office in Paris with him and some 20 other collaborators.