Christian Louboutin To Open Beijing Store Next Year
French Luxury Shoemaker Christian Louboutin plans to open two stores in China next year, propelled by the rising incomes of Chinese shoppers. The first-ever Beijing standalone store is slated to open in July 2011, followed by a Shanghai boutique in December 2011. Louboutin said in a recent interview with Bloomberg that he may operate as […]
French Luxury Shoemaker Christian Louboutin plans to open two stores in China next year, propelled by the rising incomes of Chinese shoppers.
The first-ever Beijing standalone store is slated to open in July 2011, followed by a Shanghai boutique in December 2011.
Louboutin said in a recent interview with Bloomberg that he may operate as many as five stores in China in the next three years.
Business-wise, it’s a smart move. China, the world’s second largest luxury goods market, is expected to become the biggest market in the next five years.
Credit Suisse AG also predicted household wealth in China to more than double to $35 trillion by 2015, surpassing Japan to become the second highest.
Yet the French shoe designer, whose souliers fetch anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, is a relative newcomer to the retail scene in China.
“There’s some danger for this brand, since it’s not very well known in China,” James Roy, a Shanghai-based senior analyst for China Market Research Group told Bloomberg.
Louboutin currently sells most of his footwear through upscale department stores in China like Lane Crawford and On Pedder. The company only operates two standalone stores in the country, both in Hong Kong.
Louboutin says he hopes to win over the Chinese market by tailoring his footwear to appeal to local tastes. “Asians don’t like very high heels with pointy toes,” he told Bloomberg.
Contrary to his Western clients, who prefer sky-high stilettos, the Chinese prefer more demure heels with a rounded toe.
Louboutin also plans to continue manufacturing his goods in Italy, which will likely boost the brand’s image among Chinese consumers.
Another luxury shoe brand planning major expansion in China for next year is Salvatore Ferragamo, whose shoes have been worn by Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo and Jennifer Lopez.
Chief Executive Michele Norsa told Reuters in an interview on October 29 that Greater China was the number one market for the company according to growth potential and that he intends to open seven to nine stores in lower-tier Chinese cities next year.
The Florence-based Italian company currently operates 50 stores in 32 mainland cities in China.