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Castro store in Germany
Max Brenner in New York
2006: Year of Israeli brands abroad
More and more Israeli firms opening branches abroad. Hundreds of new stores of Israeli brands seen worldwide this past year: Laline in Norway, Castro in Thailand, Max Brenner in New York, and list continues
In recent years, the Israeli market has become too claustrophobic for some Israeli brands, which, in turn, have expanded abroad.

 

Some of them do so while expanding and developing the Israeli company, and some have already squeezed all potential from the Israeli market by opening branches locally, and are now dedicating most of their efforts to expanding the chain throughout the world.

 

Eastern European countries have captured the hearts of Israeli business owners, who are scurried this part year to open branches in Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, and Serbia. From a marketing perspective, the United States and Thailand are considered strategic targets as well, and no small number of Israeli companies opened branches there in the past year.

 

While success abroad can often benefit the brand in Israel, local success doesn't necessarily ensure success abroad, and the burden of proof is on the company. However, it turns out that this doesn't deter many companies, and Israeli companies opened hundreds of branches throughout the world in the past year.

 

Who opened and where?

The health and beauty aid chain Laline opened for the first time this year in Norway. The company opened a store in Oslo, for an investment of USD 100,000 through a local franchise. In addition, the company expanded into England, where it opened two branches under a local franchise with London Jewish businessman Robert Prince for a GBP 200,000 investment. The English branches are designed in the same style as the Israeli concept store.

 

The chain also opened a branch in Los Angeles in the Westfield Mall for a USD 1 million investment through a local Israeli franchise. There are currently 16 Laline branches in Israel.


Sabon Shel Pa'am in New York

 

The chain Sabon Shel Pa'am, which manufactures and markets health and beauty aids, also expanded abroad in 2006. The chain, which currently has 20 branches in Israel with its mother-branch on Shenkin Street in Tel Aviv, has 30 branches abroad: in the United States, Canada, Romania, Italy, Poland, and Holland. Half of the branches are under franchise management.

 

The branches abroad are modeled after the flagship store in Israel, with old-fashioned looking, heavy wooden shelving. Abroad, the branches are called SABON. Each branch costs between USD 300-400,000 investment to open.

 

The first Sabon branch abroad was opened in Manhattan, and the owners are proud of the fact that a scene from Sex and the City was filmed in the store.

 

In August 2006, a branch was opened in New Jersey, joining branches in Soho, Chicago, and Boston, all of which were opened this past year. In Rome, one branch opened last year, and a second one is slated to open in the coming days. In Holland, six branches were opened, and in Romania, where the company already ran three branches, two more were opened.

 

The fashion company Castro opened this year two stores in Thailand, four stores in Russia, two stores in Ukraine, one store in Germany, and one store in Switzerland.


Castro in Germany

 

Castro first entered the Thai market a few years ago with branches based on the concept of a store within a store. In the past year, the company decided to open a flagship store in the country. The first store was opened in the Central World Plaza mall, and the second in Siam center for a joint investment of USD 400,000.

 

Castro CEO Gabi Rotter has declared on more than one occasion that he see Castro as an international company that competes with the leading fashion brands in the world, and not with local brands.

 

As of today, Castro has 26 branches throughout the world. Most of the branches are built as one store, which sells both Castro Men and Castro Women. The brand's strategy for penetrating the international markets focuses mostly on advertising and sales promotions.

 

Israeli coffee abroad

Max Brenner has been taking action for the past few years to become an international brand for chocolate and bars abroad. In the past year, the company opened two chocolate bars in New York, one of which opened in June, and the other was recently launched.

 

Apart from branches in the United States, Max Brenner has 10 branches in Australia, one in Singapore, and one in the Philippines. In articles written on the company in foreign magazines, Max Brenner has been called the "Armani of chocolate," and has been said to do the same for chocolate as what Starbucks did for coffee.

 

In Israel, the company has five branches, and in 2007, plans on expanding business in the American market.

 

Aroma opened a branch in Soho in July, 2006, and will open a branch in Toronto in March, 2007. Upon opening the first branch abroad, Aroma announced that this was the first harbinger of the coffee company becoming an international brand.

 

The chain is expected to open additional branches in Europe and the United States, along with 17 new branches in Israel in the coming year.

 

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