Adolfo Dominguez Group
One of Spain's leading and most well-known fashion groups, Adolfo Dominguez S.A. is an industry pioneer, specializing in high-end, yet somewhat classically styled designs. The Oreste-region company designs and creates a full collection of clothing for men's, women's, and youth markets. The company sells its products under the AD and Linea U brands, among others. Linea U is specifically marketed as a competitor to youthful, trendy Spanish brands like Zara, which is owned by Inditex, and Cortefiel.
As well as producing clothes, Adolfo Dominguez also offers a line of accessory pieces and footwear, with third parties developing much of it under license. Similarly, the brand has its own range of fragrances to complement its main labels, developed and produced by perfume and cologne specialist Myrurgia. Adolfo Dominguezï¿½s position as a vertically integrated company has enabled the firm to create high-quality, fashion-oriented clothing at value-for-money prices.
Itï¿½s little wonder that stars such as Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow wear the brand, as the clothes are fashionable yet practical, streetwise yet comfortable, urbane yet functional. The clothingï¿½s comfort factor comes from the use of loose, natural materials in its creation.
One of the companyï¿½s main marketing techniques has been the avoidance of distribution through multi-brand stores. Instead the brand targets the customer directly, cutting down delivery time and the final price that consumers pay for the privilege of wearing the sophisticated garments. Dominguez is so celebrated as a pioneer because he was among the first people to inject a new, fresh approach into Spanish fashion, leading the way in the emergence of a fresh generation of new designers.
Adolfo Dominguez, Sr. opened a tailor's shop in Orense, Spain in the early 1950s. His death in the mid-1970s placed the family-owned business in the hands of his eldest son Adolfo Dominguez Fernandes. Dominguez decided to extend the business beyond tailoring. In 1976, he established a new clothing business, Adolfo Dominguez.
In the 1980s, the company began to acquire a name for itself. In 1982, the brand launched a highly successful advertising campaign, proclaiming that "wrinkles are beautiful." As a result, the Dominguez name became one of the most recognized in high-end Spanish fashion. In the same year, Dominguez opened its first store in Madrid. The success of that opening encouraged the company to open a second store in Barcelona by the end of that year.
The mid-1980s saw the company target the fashion capitals of London, Paris, and New York, opening designer showrooms in each market. The United States proved much more difficult to crack, however, and by the end of the decade, the company decided to shut its New York store.
The brand had more luck with the Japanese. In 1986, the company signed a two-year licensing agreement with Japan's Taka-Q to import the Dominguez label into the Asian country. The agreement turned into a full-scale partnership.
Dominguez had in the meantime expanded beyond its core menswear collections. In 1986, the company entered the women's fashion sector, releasing its first collection that year. Dominguez also began to extend the brand into a range of accessories, including footwear, handbags, jewelry, and perfumes.
By the early 1990s, Adolfo Dominguez had boosted its sales to more than $55 million, its number of company-owned stores past 12, and franchised stores to 15. Dominguez expanded its labels, adding the casual look Dominguez Basico, and a new line of men's clothing, Almacen Dominguez, featuring printed shirts, sweaters, and sportscoats.
Yet disaster struck in 1991, when a fire destroyed company headquarters. The business was forced to restructure and lay off nearly one-third of its employees. But Dominguez soon turned the disaster to its advantage. It was then that the company decided to adopt a vertically integrated structure. The company was careful not to sacrifice its reputation for quality. These decisions helped Dominguez flourish despite the onset of a long economic recession in its core European and overseas markets.
Dominguez expanded strongly throughout the 1990s--by the mid-2000s, its Spanish retail network had grown to 93 company-owned stores, with nearly 140 more franchised stores. In 1994, the company opened its first store in Portugal. The brand continued to build up its European presence, entering Belgium in 1997.
The company also began expanding deeper into the Asian market, signing agreements to introduce its designs to Malaysia, Singapore, and Taipei. In 1997, the firm attempted a return to the United States, this time through the opening of a number of in-store "corners." In the meantime, the company abandoned the Almacen Dominguez label in favour of a new casual label, Golf, launched in 1995.
The brand also continued to add new markets, entering Argentina with its first store in the early 2000s. The company additionally launched operations in Mexico, China, and Luxembourg.
Like most retailers, Dominguez was hit hard by the global recession at the beginning of the 2000s. Nonetheless, the company remains one of Spain's leading fashion labels, backed by an international network of more than 300 company-owned and franchised stores, 142 of which are company owned. By the end of 2004, Dominguez had boosted its sales to EUR 130 million ($176 million). With Adolfo Dominguez remaining at the helm, the company continues to set its sights on new growth in the new century.
To this day, the company remains under the control of the Dominguez family, including longtime Chairman and CEO Adolfo Dominguez, the founder's son. The Dominguez family retains a controlling stake in the business, which was listed on the Madrid Stock Exchange in 1997. In 2004, the company posted total sales of EUR 130 million.
Spain remains the company's biggest market, where it operates 93 company-owned stores and 137 franchise locations. Europe is the firmï¿½s largest region, with 32 company-owned stores, and most of the group's 23 foreign franchised stores. France is the group's primary international market, but the business also has a presence in Germany and the Benelux markets, and elsewhere.