Pepe Jeans, founded 17 years ago on Portobello Road in London, is moving its European office out of the UK and into Amsterdam.
Pepe, which hit the spotlight last year when its controversial “teenage suicide” ads were put under scrutiny by the Independent Television Commission, has suffered declining market share since the Eighties when it was the second best-selling jeans brand in the UK after Levis.
Pepe is currently in fifth place, according to Nielsen, holding a 4.1 per cent volume share of the UK jeans market, behind Levi’s, Wrangler, Lee Jeans and own-label brands.
European marketing director Mark Blenkinsop says the European headquarters, based in Isleworth, Middlesex, will be relocated to Amsterdam by June.
Blenkinsop says the primary reason behind moving to Amsterdam is to put its 70 staff closer to its European markets. In Spain, one of Pepe’s most successful markets, it holds second place behind Levi’s.
However, sources close to the company say the move is also spurred by poor performance in the UK market where Pepe has diversified away from the core jeans product. “It’s problem is that it has been concentrating less on denim and more on fashion – which obviously changes a lot faster,” says an industry analyst.
Blenkinsop says that the small UK office in Covent Garden, headed by managing director David Pyne, would remain.
Leagas Delaney retains the 10m pan-European advertising account, despite the switch of sales and marketing to Europe.