Bebe on Tuesday unveiled a new e-commerce site and revamped loyalty program, clubbebe, designed to bolster its new focus on direct-to-consumer sales.
The site is now forged (by e-commerce solutions firm Branded Online) for "personalization and discovery," with "mobile-responsive design, intuitive user interface and underlying analytics platform [which] make it easy for customers to uncover new products, get recommendations and access deals based on their interests and then to purchase from any device," the company said in a press release emailed to Retail Dive.
After years of struggle, Bebe in 2017 undertook a restructuring effort, outside of bankruptcy, to shore up its more successful European operations, which had already benefited from its partnership with Bluestar Alliance.
In an era when many digital-first brands are opening stores, Bebe continues to take things slow and focus its efforts online.
The new site is much improved, data-driven and "well positioned to scale quickly and deliver exponential growth in the online channel," Branded Online CEO Jan Nugent said in a statement. The site has more enhancements planned, including product categories beyond apparel, footwear and accessories, and accessibility in multiple languages, the company said.
Bebe struggled in the years following the departure of creative director Neda Mashouf, who exited after her 2007 divorce from founder Manny Mashouf, who was president and controlling investor at the time and took over as CEO. Bebe's steady exit from the doldrums was greatly aided by money it had in the bank and the fact that it had little debt, in stark contrast to private equity-owned brands. The brand avoided bankruptcy by paying its way out of store leases, which debt-heavy retailers just can't do, and now has a state-of-the-art e-commerce site.
Bebe isn't the only feather in Bluestar Alliance's cap. The company manages a portfolio of more than 300 licensees (including Tahari, Bebe, Kensie, Catherine Malandrino, Nanette Lepore, Joan Vass, Michael Bastian, English Laundry and Limited Too) and features a branded retail platform of more than 800 stores throughout North America, Europe, Australia, South America, Asia, the Middle East and India, according to its release.
And it continues to expand: Bebe and Bluestar, for example, acquired the operations and assets of Brookstone out of Chapter 11 late last year. And, with advisory firm Great American Group, the company in November also acquired, via a joint venture, the stock and assets of private European fashion retailer Charles Vögele.