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Kidiliz: history, success, and acquisition of the French brand

By Céline Vautard

May 29, 2018

Retail |IN DEPTH

Leading European children’s fashion retailer, Kidiliz, is preparing for even more growth in its sector after being purchased by the Chinese group, Semir earlier this year. Ahead of its expansion push, FashionUnited takes a close look at the historic acquisition.

Chinese investors have turned their attention to French fashion designers in recent years, including labels like SMCP (Sandro, Maje, Claudie Pierlot), Lanvin, and Naf Naf. As a result of this increased interest, the pioneer of children’s fashion in France, Roger Zannier, decided to sell his namesake company founded in 1962 with his sister Josette.

Originally, the Zannier group, later renamed Kidiliz, was a manufacturer of children’s clothing, distributing its collections to larger retailers. It was not until 1983 when it launched its’ debut in-house brand, ‘Z’ began opening stores in France and began initial advertising campaigns that it started to promote its changing role from distributor to retailer in the fashion industry.

Focus on fashion

During the 1980s Zannier expanded its portfolio of brands by acquiring Kickers (sold in 2000) and the Duguy Group. The brand also launched its first foray into the international market with the purchase of Absorba and 3 Pommes; both well-known throughout Europe. Following Zannier’s international expansion, the Catimini brand followed, as well as youth fashion brand, Chipie in 1999 and adult fashion brands IKKS and One Step in 2000.

A change in the fashion industry came with the development of licences, which Zannier took advantage of alongside similar brands like Levi’s Kids and Dim Enfants, signing licenses with big designers such as Kenzo Kids, Junior Gaultier, Paul Smith Junior and Esprit Kids in 1995. The same year, Kidiliz was created, bringing the numerous brands in the group together under the same roof.

International focus

At the end of 2016, the Zannier Group changed its title to Kidiliz Group in an attempt to drive its growth even further in the international fashion industry. As a result, that very same year it achieved greater turnover abroad than in France; a first for the company. Today, from its 437 million euros in turnover, 52 percent is attributed by foreign clientele.

The group has a network of more than 11,000 sales outlets including 830 of its own stores worldwide with trade names Z, Catimini, or Kidiliz.

From Saint-Chamond to Shenzhen

The unique position held by Kidiliz Group did not escape notice of the Chinese group Semir; the multi-brand fashion leader in its home country, boasting affordable prices. The group is also successful in children’s fashion with it’s brand Balabala, operating 4,000 stores that account for half of Semir’s business.

Semir’s decision to purchase Kidiliz was fueled by two objectives: to gain access to the premium segment through its 15 own brands and licenses and to become a world leader in children's fashion by combining both brand’s resources. In the children’s wear market, which is more fragmented than the adult market, Semir-Kidiliz will now gain even wider reach in the future in terms of groups shopping their brands, although still behind the American company Carters (turnover of 3.4 billion USD).

Rémy Baume, president of Kidiliz since 2013, and his team will continue to manage the group with Europe remaining its’ main market. The future developments for Kidiliz is expected to be expansion into the Chinese market to increase international sales, and increasing the brand’s online presence with a webshop.

This article was originally written for FashionUnited.fr. Translated and edited by Kelly Press

photo: Kidiliz Group - Summer Capsule Kenzo Kids

children's fashion