Paul Smith’s China comeback
Paul Smith opened his new Chinese flagship in the Sanlitun neighborhood of Beijing at the beginning of May. After a first Chinese store in Tianjin last year, Beijing marks the designer’s second Chinese outpost since a partnership was formed with Imaginex in 2012, the distribution subsidiary of the Hong Kong group Lane Crawford Joyce. The two-level, 359-square-meter store offers a selection of all the brand’s men’s and women’s lines, including accessories but does not carry any children’s wear.
Paul Smith had already tried to break into the Chinese market, but bad choices in locations and partners prompted the brand to leave in 2007. The designer announced his Chinese comeback in 2012. Paul Smith’s new partner Imaginex also handles the development of the Chinese market for Ferragamo and Marc Jacobs, among other brands.
Six more openings are scheduled for mainland China before the end of 2013, including in Chengdu and Shanghai with flagships, one of which will be a “megastore,” the largest to date for the British brand. Five years from now, the distribution agreement between Paul Smith and his partner aims for “at least 24 openings” throughout China. The brand may be trying to repeat the recipe for commercial success it enjoys on the Japanese market with its partner Onward Kashiyama, which has owned a 40% stake in the Paul Smith company since 2006.
There are more than 150 Paul Smith shops worldwide and new locations are scheduled for 2013 in London, Abu Dhabi, Indonesia and Hamburg, Germany. The brand also opened a new women’s store in the rue de Grenelle in Paris in December.
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