British footwear brand Nicholas Kirkwood has opened its first store in China in partnership with Beijing department store Shin Kong Place.
French luxury conglomerate LVMH purchased a controlling stake in the footwear company last September and has been looking to expand the brand into new markets, according to Inside Retail Asia. The Beijing store will be the brand’s first outside of the United States and Europe. It is the company’s fourth brand-owned boutique after London, New York, and Las Vegas.
Despite the fact that 21 percent of the brand’s global sales come from Asia, Nicholas Kirkwood designer and CEO Christopher Suarez made it clear that the expansion into China was no hasty decision.
“We’re only entering into the Chinese market when we feel like we have the product range and the brand development necessary to enter,” Suarez said.
Nicholas Kirkwood’s China expansion comes at an excellent time, as footwear is the first entry point into luxury for many Chinese customers. With 3 billion pairs of shoes sold last year in China, a number of other luxury footwear brands have entered the Chinese market, including Stuart Weitzman, Giuseppe Zanotti, Christian Louboutin, and Jimmy Choo.
The Beijing store will stock the brand’s new autumn/winter collection, ‘Arcs of Orbit,’ which features stilettos with silver heels in the shape of half moons and loafers with metallic, triangular block heels.
With LVMH’s support, Nicholas Kirkwood plans to double its points of sale by the end of 2015 and double that number again the following year.
“As a shoe brand without advertising and without a runway show as such, a shop is a really important tool to be able to put across an experience or image for the brand,” says designer and company founder Nicholas Kirkwood. “It’s really the one time that you can come and experience the brand by being in the environment. Being able to have visibility in a market like that can really do wonders for the perception of the brand and brand awareness.”
image source: nicholaskirkwood.com