“Asian Route To The Top At Luxury Brands” (Financial Times)
To path to senior executive positions at European luxury houses increasingly runs through Asia. Indeed, in recent years, a number of chief executive placements have gone to former managers with on-the-ground Asia experience: Coach’s Victor Luis is the former president of Coach Asia; Givenchy’s Sebastien Suhl previously helmed Prada Asia; Louis Vuitton’s Christopher Zanardi-Landi was promoted to the position of global executive vice president after a stint in China.
First-hand insight into what is arguably the luxury sector’s most valuable geography and demographic is a considerable asset in the boardroom. A less obvious, but equally valid explanation is that brands typically deploy highly capable executives to tackle high growth markets and, in the course of succession planning, it's often sensible to recall these same executives back to headquarters to lead the brand’s global strategy.
“Behind The Scenes at Hong Kong’s IFC Shopping Mall” (The Wall Street Journal)
Karim Azar, general manager of retail leasing at the IFC Shopping Mall, understands Chinese mall development better than most. The Hong Kong native was previously involved in residential real estate before taking over IFC’s tenancy mix, where he is credited for bringing Tom Ford, Lanvin, Zara, Victoria’s Secret and Apple into the fold. Azar is particularly aggressive in courting new market entrants; IFC will soon welcome the city’s first J. Crew store for spring 2014.
More so than bragging rights, Chinese malls rely on the right tenancy mix to ensure monthly trading profitability. And, in a market where landlords continue to reap a blend of fixed rent and a percentage of sales (or simply, the higher of the two), there are always opportunities to adjust and optimise.
A year after it invested $49 million into a prominent South Molton Street flagship, Chinese outerwear giant Bosideng is in deal-making mode once again. The retailer has disclosed that it is in advanced negotiations to acquire a privately-owned, 80-door UK retail chain. Pending the deal’s closing next month, Bosideng could immediately expand the distribution reach of its branded apparel in the UK without going through third party channels.
The brand appears intensely focused on moving up the retail chain, bridging its category expertise and extensive production capabilities with newfound street credibility and brand visibility in London. Furthermore, the company has announced ambitions to acquire, license or partner with an established European outerwear label to support its premium positioning strategy.