Style Scoop

China's Fashion Retail Revamp

October 16, 2013

The fashion retail scene in China is exploding.  In the last quarter of 2013 alone, three retail juggernauts have opened their doors in Shanghai and Beijing: Milan's 10 Corso Como and Hong Kong's Lane Crawford have opened up in Shanghai and Paris' Galleries Lafayette has opened in Beijing.  These departments stores will vastly change the landscape of shopping in China which, up until now, was largely done at individual boutiques and stand-alone stores--mostly overseas, if we're being honest.  Never before have Chinese consumers had such varied access to luxury department store shopping.  And these aren't just any old retailers.  These are major players in the industry with a lot at stake and a lot riding on the success of their stores overseas.  Chinese tourists have been traveling overseas to shop at their flagship counterparts for years now (mainly in an effort to avoid high Chinese taxes on luxury goods), and these department stores are banking on the hope that these same shoppers will continue to shop at their China-based satellite stores.  It will be interesting to see if they are successful--based on the images that we've seen so far of the three locations, they look absolutely stunning and we could safely say that Stylecab would shop there if we lived in Shanghai or Beijing.  So, with so many luxury department stores opening up in China, how can they all compete for the same customer?  Well, each store's merchandising strategy is vastly different from the rest.  Learn more about each of them below and start planning a shopping trip to China ASAP!

10 Corso Como, Shanghai

10 Corso Como Shanghai opened up in September on the popular Nanjing West Road, with an array of highly-selected womenswear, menswear and homewares.  The 10 Corso Como merchandise approach has always been one that is highly-edited; after all, the store bills itself as more of  a 'concept store' than a department store.  There's even a restaurant and bar inside, where customers can enjoy authentic Italian food and wine.  The brains behind the store, Carla Sozzani (sister of Vogue Italia Editor-in-Cheif, Franca Sozzani), has even opened up her own gallery (as she does in all the 10 Corso Como locations) within the space, which will showcase a regularly revolving array of her favourite artists' works.  Though there is a lot on offer in terms of product mix, the mix is a very tight edit and is catered towards the highly design-centric customer with, let's face it, a lot of money to spend.

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Lane Crawford, Shanghai

After closing its store in Shanghai 7 years ago, Lane Crawford is back in the city with a vengeance, having just opened its doors in Shanghai's Times Square on 10 October.  The Shanghai store is now officially the Hong Kong-based luxury department store's largest store and prides itself on offering its customers a range of 500+ different international brands in womenswear, menswear, cosmetics and homewares, over four floors of space on Huai Hai Zhong Road.  Whereas 10 Corso Como has taken a highly-selective approach, Lane Crawford's aim is to blitz the competition out of the water by offering an enormous range of products, cultivated by their large team of buyers and merchandisers who have been steadily buying for Lane Crawford in Hong Kong and Beijing for many, many years.  And while 10 Corso Como's space could be described as quirky and, the Times Square space was designed in true Lane Crawford style--sleek, purposeful and chic.  Shoppers at Lane Crawford Shanghai can expect to spend anywhere between a few hundred RMB to several hundred thousand RMB.

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Galleries Lafayette, Beijing

Although the Galleries Lafayette in Beijing has been opened since September, their 'official' opening date is slated for this Friday, October 18.  And, although the population of Beijing is 5-times that of the population in Paris, the Galleries Lafayette store in Beijing is only half the size of the flagship Galleries Lafayette store on Boulevard Haussman--it is also missing the Haussman store's trademark ornate domed roof.  Galleries Lafayette, however, is hoping that their name will be enough to carry its success and attract customers in through its doors.  The Galleries Lafayette in Beijing is being opened and operated by a 50/50 joint-venture agreement between long-standing Hong Kong & China retail success store, the I.T Group, which operates the free-standing stores of brans such as Isabel Marant, Maison Martin Margiela and Comme des Garcons in the region, as well as their own multi-brand stores.  Whenever we've been to the Galleries Lafayette in Paris, the Chinese tourists seem mostly interested in the skincare and cosmetics products on the ground floor--make no mistake, the Galleries Lafayette in Beijing will also place a heavy emphasis on cosmetics, with the department greeting customers immediately upon entering.  The range of products and price-points at Galleries Lafayette are expected to be around the same as those that could be found in Lane Crawford.  With Lane Crawford's Beijing store also present in the city for many years already, it will be interesting to see how Galleries Lafayette fares against its main competition.

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