British Footwear Brand Entered China Market In 2004
Peter Foster of the Telegraph writes today about the China expansion plans of high-end British footwear brand Jimmy Choo, which plans to open 10 new stores there over the course of the next five years. As Tamara Mellon, the brand’s founder and chief creative officer, said this week in Beijing, “I’ve been looking at real estate only today. China has all the glossy fashion magazines now and Chinese women are highly sophisticated. They want to buy luxuries, but they are also very ‘fashion forward’.” A vast generalization, to say the least, but not without a nugget of truth.
From the article:
Jimmy Choo, now owned by Labelux after a £500m acquisition last July, opened its first store in mainland China in 2004. Seven years later it only has two shops with total sales of about 4,000 pairs of shoes a year at an average of £400 each.
“We went in a little too early, but sales are now up 100pc on last year. Wealth is very young in China, the new rich are in their 30s and 40s, the spending power is everywhere to see, and Jimmy Choo is young brand, with a glamorous, exciting story to tell,” Ms Mellon added.
Other Jimmy Choo execs seem to share Mellon’s optimism over the brand’s prospects in China, despite intense competition and the proliferation of counterfeit Jimmy Choos already treading the streets. As CEO Joshua Schulman told WWD earlier this month, “Over time, Jimmy Choo can have a presence in Asia commensurate with our presence in the West,” noting its two retail openings in Hong Kong’s Pacific Place and in Nanjing this year. Still, for a brand to have such a tiny footprint in China after nearly eight years, it will be a great challenge for Jimmy Choo to move from niche to 50 stores in fairly rapid succession without appearing to stretch itself too thin.