Outside of the US, China is Calvin Klein’s largest market with 50 percent annual sales growth for the past two years. Its China business has pulled ahead of other international markets.
The company continues to expect stellar growth ahead. “Our business grew 50 percent in 2010, it will grow 50 percent this year and the way we’re going, we could see 50 percent again next year,” said Tom Murry, chief executive officer and president of Calvin Klein. “Our global business has been growing at 10 to 15 percent, so you can see the business here is outpacing the global business by a long shot.”
This week the brand unveiled its expanded, new-concept ck Calvin Klein store at one of the Beijing’s premiere shopping destinations, China World Mall. Celebrities, which included Chinese actor Kun Chen and actress Eva Shengyi Huang and top Chinese model Lei Zhao, attended this invitation-only event.
The 2,100-square-foot Beijing flagship has been renovated to a new white-on-white theme from its previous gray-on-gray palette to soften and brighten the space but still maintain a contemporary feel. Other stores in Asia will move to this new concept look which is inspired by the brand’s John Pawson-designed Madison Avenue flagship.
“I think it’s really important as a consumer to enter a store and feel complicity in tune with the brand DNA,” said Kevin Carrigan, Calvin Klein global creative director. While Calvin Klein remains committed to a consistent global brand image, the company is incorporating Asian influences including the frequent use of reds, the color for good fortune or prosperity, and Asian-sourced silk and cashmere. Also, the company is flexible in adapting to local preferences and keen about offering special edition items.
Calvin Klein has over 200 freestanding stores in Mainland China with sales estimated at about $350 million in China this year. The brand has set its sight beyond the first- and second-tier cities and are putting out “feelers” in third-tier cities according to Murray.
Despite reports of a China slowdown, executives at Calvin Klein said they are not seeing any slowdown in their business. “There’s a lot of discussion about the economy slowing down here and we’re not seeing it. Slowing down to 9 percent [growth] is not very much slowing down,” Murry said.