Brooks Brothers Broadens Preppy Presence Online and Offline in China

    With a newly announced joint venture, iconic American label Brooks Brothers plots its China expansion through brick-and-mortar and e-commerce channels.
    Brooks Brothers has big expansion plans for mainland China. (Courtesy Photo)
    Jessica RappAuthor
      Published   in Fashion
    Brooks Brothers has big expansion plans for outlets, travel retail channels, wholesale, and e-commerce in China. (Courtesy Photo)
    Brooks Brothers has big expansion plans for outlets, travel retail channels, wholesale, and e-commerce in China. (Courtesy Photo)

    Chinese shoppers will soon have even more access to America's oldest retail brand, Brooks Brothers, now that the they have formalized a partnership with Walton Brown Group, a subsidiary of Lane Crawford Joyce Group of Hong Kong. The joint venture is part of a plan to help bolster Brooks Brothers presence on the Chinese mainland, in addition to Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau.

    The iconic retail brand, known for its Ivy League-style men’s and women's clothing, already has 130 out of its 460 stores worldwide located in the Asia Pacific region, with 90 in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. With the joint venture, the brand plans to establish 10 more points of sale across these regions in the next two years, as well as expand in the form of outlets, travel retail channels, wholesale, and additional e-commerce platforms, all in addition to a corporate office and showroom in Hong Kong early next year.

    "With Walton Brown's in-depth local market insights and extensive distribution capabilities and network in retail, we believe we can capture new opportunities to further deepen our relationship with Chinese consumers," Claudio Del Vecchio, chairman and CEO of Brooks Brothers, said in a statement.

    The joint venture with Walton Brown, which manages departments and other high-end brands in China, is on track to last for 10 years. Creating more e-tail channels for Brooks Brothers is one of the key parts of the decade-long plan. Currently, Brooks Brothers operates out of e-tail platforms like ShopRunner, which partnered with Alibaba last year to attract high-end, premium retailers wanting to reach Chinese customers, but do not want to use Tmall to do it.

    Traditionally a source for quality menswear, the heritage brand announced that in addition to its partnership with Walton Brown, it's also looked inward—it has enhanced its Spring/Summer 2016 womenswear collection and chose Zac Posen to be creative director. The designer's gown adorned Chinese model Liu Wen at the Met Gala last year, so this appointment is most likely one surefire way to successfully launch a campaign to attract more Chinese customers.

    Walton Brown President Thomson Cheng said in a statement that Brooks Brothers has had already long established a strong following in China after its 12 years in the region.

    “With the foundation in place, we believe the brand has enormous potential with the new generation of sophisticated and prosperous consumers in China and with the launch of the online business in 2016 we will be able to significantly increase reach with this consumer segment," he said.

    Other China-based stores and malls under Walton Brown's management include Juicy Couture and Kate Spade New York, as well as the French-laced Maison Mode luxury department store in Chengdu.

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