Yilmaz Yilmaz, Koton

Yilmaz Yilmaz is the Co-founder and Chairman of KOTON. With over 301 stores operating in 24 different countries and an average growth rate of 45%, Koton has become a major international fashion brand very rapidly.

Describe Koton and what it stands for.

Carrying out its business in five continents, Koton is now one of the leading fashion brands offering a wide variety of products that fit the customers’ needs at reasonable and affordable prices. We analyze global fashion trends and translate them into local needs. For example, we are able to offer different collections in Dubai (+30°C) and in Russia (-30°C) at a given time. We generate 55 new products per day and 20,000 new models in a year. Currently we have 310 outlet stores in 24 different countries; 216 are located in Turkey and 94 abroad.

What are your current expansion strategies? Where will your growth be directed in the short to medium term?

Over the course of the first quarter of 2013, we have launched 17 outlet stores, out of which six are located abroad and 11 in Turkey. By the end of 2013, we will have launched 71 stores in total—42 in Turkey and 29 abroad.

How do you select new markets and locations for your brand?

Before getting into a new country or enlarging our capacity with new stores, we first examine the lifestyle in that country. Based on the results obtained from this analysis, we decide to open either a high-street store or a shopping mall by considering our competitors’ store locations as well.

In 2013, we will also open new stores in new shopping malls both in Turkey and in other countries; however, we will proceed step by step. For example, if there are more than one shopping malls in a small city or on the same axle, then before making a decision we will analyze the positive and negative sides of opening more than one store in that region. Recently we observe that old streets and bazaars have been getting in motion in Turkey. High-street store retailing comes into prominence.

In your opinion, what will be the new trends in the retail industry in the coming years?

Brands that have a feeling for consumers now start to win and brands which listen to consumers by employing technology grow more swiftly in the retail industry. In this direction, Koton focuses on all technological innovations, follows up on the communication channels provided by new technologies and benefits from technology at all our departments, from collections to store retailing.

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