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C&A Splits with Mustang to Focus on Own Denim Brand

As we settle into the new year, our Sourcing Summit Companion Report looks ahead at ways to optimize processes and performance.

After opening its own jeans production facility in Germany last year, European fashion retail chain C&A announced it will cut ties with longstanding denim brand partner Mustang. Currently, Mustang products are offered in the women’s, men’s and boys’ departments in 503 C&A stores throughout Europe and online. By August, Mustang will exit 303 C&A stores, and will finalize its termination by next year.

The move comes after what C&A considers a successful four-year partnership, with Mustang helping the retailer attract new customers and increase sales.

“With Mustang, C&A has achieved the goal of appealing to new target groups and strengthening the jeans assortments in the upper price range,” said Martijn Van der Zee, chief merchandise and sustainability officer at C&A Europe. “Furthermore, we have improved our planned sales productivity.”

The retailer is shifting its focus to its own denim brand. It currently has its own roster of 10 labels including Baby Club, Palomino, Here and There, Clockhouse, Rodeo, Canda, Yessica, Your Sixth Sense, Angelo Litrico and Westbury.

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C&A’s focus on its own denim has been in the works for years, having developed its first jeans with Cradle to Cradle (C2C) Gold-level certification in 2018, followed by Platinum-level certification in 2020. Its “Beluga Denim,” a 100 percent cotton denim developed in partnership with Pakistan denim mill Rajby and C2C assessor Eco Intelligent Growth (EIG) offers completely carbon neutral manufacturing and closed-loop water processing during production.

Developed in partnership with the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences, the Textile Academy NRW (North Rhine-Westphalia), RWTH Aachen University and various startups, C&A’s carbon-neutral jeans production facility in Germany will include automated processes throughout the laundry and sewing stages of jeans production. The retailer expects the first pants produced at the facility to be available this year, and estimates that it will produce 400,000 jeans per year to start, and ultimately expand to 800,000 jeans per year.

For Mustang, the end of its partnership with C&A signals an opportunity to focus on growth strategies, including improving sustainability, creating a unique shopping experience and strengthening the company’s economic performance.

“Our goal is to attract the best players in the ct younger and more international customers to our denim brand and increase our brand appeal to generate additional growth,” said Mustang CEO Andreas Baur. “As part of this, we will also expand our middle and upper price ranges in order to offer both our wholesale customers and our own retail stores the opportunity to generate higher average receipts. This is where we see strong demand in the current market.”