Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty
Quintessentially British label Paul Smith is attempting to crack China once again, with a flagship store in Shanghai and 24 new boutiques in the pipeline.Sir Paul Smith has cited the opening of his first store in Japan as one the proudest moments of his career, and his foray in the Far East is set to continue as he takes on China next.
His brand will set up a 5,000 sq-ft store in Shanghai – where European fashion houses Christian Dior, Gucci and Jean-Paul Gaultier have recently staged catwalk shows – in December and add 24 shops in China over the next five years, according to Bloomberg.
China’s clothing market is predicted to more than triple to 1.3 trillion yuan (£128.3 billion) by 2020 from 400 billion yuan (£39.4 billion) in 2010 as rising incomes fuel demand, Boston Consulting Group Inc found.
“This is the right time to join the race,” said Balbina Wong, chief executive officer for ImagineX Group, Paul Smith’s Greater China distributor. “Chinese consumers are becoming more sophisticated and brand-conscious. China’s overall GDP may slow, but the middle-class is growing.”
It is the second time the London Fashion Week label is attempting to crack China. The brand retreated from the country with large losses five years ago, with Smith telling the Financial Times that the Chinese market was “extremely dangerous” due to its high rents and because the majority of the population only sought “clothes to cover their bodies”.
Paul Smith will be taking on earlier entrants Michael Kors and Burberry alongside fellow newcomers, Italian brands Prada and Salvatore Ferragamo.
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