Business / Industries

Fashion brands get makeover in China

By WANG ZHUOQIONG (China Daily) Updated: 2015-10-08 09:04

Fashion brands get makeover in China

Customers check out outfits at the fast fashion chain Topshop's first retail outlet on the Chinese mainland. It opened in Galeries Lafayette's store in Beijing this summer. [Photo/China Daily]

French store Galeries Lafayette has come up with a new approach to entice customers with affordable, exclusive labels from the likes of Topshop

Fast fashion chain Topshop's first retail outlet on the Chinese mainland opened in August, with lines of young women eager to see what the British brand had to offer.

But this was not just another store opening in one of the countless malls that have sprung up across urban China during the past decade, it was an indication of the subtle shift in the nation's shopping culture.

The brand chose to make its first foray into the Chinese mainland on the sixth floor of Galeries Lafayette (China) Ltd, a 50-50 joint-venture between French department store veteran Galeries Lafayette and I.T Apparels Ltd.

"The introduction of Topshop here sends a strong message," Paul Burke, chief executive officer of Galeries Lafayette China, said in an exclusive interview with China Daily.

"A message to bring more traffic here for people to see something else, because people are not frightened by the price of Topshop."

The French department store opened in Beijing in September 2013 just as China's department stores-aimed at wealthy and high-spending consumers-started to feel the pinch from the central authorities' anti-extravagance campaign.

Since then, it has been trying to find its place in Beijing's Xidan area, a bustling shopping district traditionally associated with younger consumers with relatively low spending power.

Targeting customers aged between 18 and 35, the store has been left relatively unscathed by the impact of the anti-corruption clampdown.

"The young customers are not really involved with these things and they live on true incomes. Whatever they earn, they can spend some on food, clothing and other things to feel good about themselves," Burke said.

Galeries Lafayette has moved into this market niche to distinguish it from traditional Chinese department stores, which have been in decline this year.

The rising middle class and the government's promotion of consumption stimulated their business, said Burke of his peers in the sector, but as far as Galeries Lafayette is concerned, "we are different".

"We are French, fashion forward, affordable and fun," Burke said. "When we think about business, these four elements are in our thinking all the time."

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