China News Brief
    May 13, 2024

    Balenciaga unveils Rodeo bag with star-studded ad; Coach taps Actor Zeng Shunxi as spokesperson; Hermès seeks dismissal of Birkin bag lawsuit.
    Left to right: Hanna Cross, Yang Chaoyue and Lachlan Watson attend the Miu Miu Womenswear Spring/Summer 2020 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on October 01, 2019 in Paris, France. Image: Getty Images

    Balenciaga unveils Rodeo bag with star-studded ad#

    Balenciaga recently invited  Chinese actress Yang Chaoyue, brand ambassador Nicole Kidman, and model Amelia Gray to showcase the new Rodeo handbag in an ad. Captured by renowned fashion photographer Mario Sorrenti. Inspired by the world-famous Rodeo Drive, the handbag series features a unique double closure structure that creates an optical illusion, blending functionality with style.

    Coach taps Actor Zeng Shunxi as spokesperson#

    Coach last week announced  actor Zeng Shunxi as its spokesperson for the Greater China region. A new advertisement portrays Zeng freely switching between multiple identities on a journey guided by Coach perfume. The endorsement collaboration is themed “Courage to Be Real,” encouraging self-exploration.

    Hermès seeks dismissal of Birkin bag lawsuit#

    Hermès has requested  a US judge to dismiss a “far-fetched” consumer lawsuit accusing it of requiring customers to purchase other items before allowing them to buy its highly coveted Birkin handbags. The lawsuit, filed in March in San Francisco federal court, alleges Hermès unfairly ties the sale of Birkin bags, which can cost thousands of dollars and are handmade, to the purchase of additional products like jewelry and shoes. Hermès argued that even customers without previous purchases can buy a Birkin and that such a sales strategy, even if true, would not violate US antitrust laws, which don't penalize companies for producing superior products. The company also stated that it faces significant competition in the luxury market, which undermines the plaintiffs’ claims of unlawful sales practices. The lawyers for both parties have not yet responded to requests for comments on the matter.

    Chanel to expand, renovate Shanghai Plaza 66 store#

    According to market reports, Chanel’s store  located on the first and second floors of Shanghai’s Plaza 66 will undergo a major renovation and expand into the B1 level. The brand has already completed the hard fit-out of a temporary store on the fourth floor. Shanghai Plaza 66 is seeking new growth drivers by incorporating trendy luxury brands. For instance, the Japanese fashion brand Sacai opened a new boutique in Shanghai Plaza 66 last month.

    Birkenstock opens Shanghai pop-up store#

    Birkenstock last week opened  its first pop-up store in Shanghai’s Zhang Garden, a historic Shikumen architectural complex. The store features seven functional areas, including a special 250th-anniversary book display with publications on Birkenstock’s global history, an exhibit detailing the brand's milestones, a footbed experience zone, and a display for the creative 1774 collection. Additionally, the store offers community story sharing spaces and a workshop and retail area.

    Kosé Corp’s Q1 sales in Asia plummet#

    The Japanese cosmetics giant, Kosé Corporation, announced  its first-quarter results for 2024. Sales increased 13.8% to $558.58 million (77.58 billion yen), and profit attributable to the parent company surged 78.1% to $49.99 million (6.94 billion yen). Breaking it down by department, the cosmetics division saw an 11.2% rise in sales to $447.58 million (62.164 billion yen), while the beauty division soared by 25.9% to $106.62 million (14.80 billion yen). Geographically, sales in the Japanese market grew by 18.2% to $351.36 million (48.8 billion yen), and North American market sales skyrocketed by 30.5% to $121.39 million (16.86 billion yen). However, sales in the Asian market plummeted by 23.7% to $69.50 million (9.65 billion yen). Notably, Kose ended operations of its Tmall flagship store in China last month after over 14 years, indicating a reevaluation and refocusing of its business scale and development priorities in China.

    Luxury watch prices decline for 7 quarters#

    A report by Morgan Stanley and WatchCharts reveals  that luxury watch prices in the secondary market, which peaked in May 2022, have been on a decline for seven consecutive quarters up to Q4 2023, though the rate of decline has recently slowed. From Q4 2023 to Q1 2024, Rolex and Patek Philippe prices fell by just 1.1% and 1.4%, respectively, while Audemars Piguet prices slightly increased by 0.1%. However, compared to the previous year, prices for Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet still dropped by 8.6%, 13.1%, and 13.6%, respectively. At this year’s Geneva Watch and Miracle Advanced Watch Exhibition, Rolex CEO Jean-Frédéric Dufour highlighted the high risks of treating luxury watches as investments.

    Cindy Chao The Art Jewel marks 20 years with mobile museum#

    High-end jewelry brand Cindy Chao The Art Jewel held  its Twenty Years of Boundary-Pushing Art Initiatives 20th anniversary series touring exhibition at the Beijing China World Mall, a landmark of luxury in China, From May 10 to 24. This marks the first time the exhibition appeared in a major commercial complex in the form of a ‘mobile museum,” organically extending the boundaries between art and traditional retail. This innovative approach has brought new inspiration to the industry.

    Shein ranks as 3rd-largest online fashion retailer in US#

    Global data and business intelligence platform Statista, citing the latest data from the ECDB website, shows that Shein  has become the third-largest online fashion retailer in the US, ranking after Amazon and Walmart, but ahead of traditional retailers Macy’s and Nike. Shein is also the only Chinese company among the top five online fashion retailers in the US.