Sat, Feb 26, 2011 - Page 11 News List

China will be top market: Chloe

Bloomberg

Chloe, the French fashion label owned by Cie Financiere Richemont SA, said China will become the company’s biggest market in two years as it adds more stores in the world’s fastest--growing major economy.

“We expect that within two years China will be the No. 1 market for Chloe,” surpassing Japan, chief executive officer Geoffroy De La Bourdonnaye said in an interview in Shanghai yesterday.

Four Chloe stores will be added in China this year, taking the total number in the nation to 13, he said.

Chloe joins luxury labels including LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA and Bally International AG in opening more stores in the world’s second-largest economy as growth in Asia outpaces the US and Europe. The Greater China region, comprising China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, will become the biggest market for luxury goods by 2020 as rising incomes spur demand, CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets said.

“China is not just catching up with the world, I think now it’s leading in many ways,” said De La Bourdonnaye, who became chief executive in September.

The fashion label plans to add 10 stores worldwide this year, taking the total to 150, he said.

Chloe’s parent Richemont, the world’s largest jewelry maker and owner of brands including Baume & Mercier, Cartier and Shanghai Tang, faces competition from other luxury labels in China.

Italian fashion house Prada SpA said last month it will start the process for selling shares in an initial public offering in Hong Kong.

Bally, the Swiss luxury shoemaker, expects sales growth of 10 percent or more in China and Hong Kong this year, chief executive officer of North Asian operations Dinesh Tandon said on Nov. 18. It plans to open at least five outlets this year in China and Hong Kong, bringing the total to 70, he said.

LVMH plans to open a Zenith watch shop in Hong Kong and De Beers diamond stores in that city and in Beijing this year.

China’s per capita urban household disposable income rose to 19,109 yuan (US$2,900) last year, data from the National Bureau of Statistics of China show.

The number of middle-income and affluent consumers in China will almost triple to 415 million in 10 years, the Boston Consulting Group Inc said in November, defining -middle-income and affluent consumers as those whose annual household income exceeds 60,000 yuan.

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