Lane Crawford Joyce Group has created a new business unit that will serve high-profile international fashion and lifestyle brands looking to target the Chinese middle class.
The company, named Walton Brown, will offer distribution through retail, wholesale, e-commerce, travel retail, and outlets with Walton Brown providing full geographic and channel coverage of the market.
“As the luxury market in Greater China matures, the rapidly expanding and increasingly aspirational middle class presents new opportunities for us outside our current retail business. Given our heritage and expertise in the market we are perfectly positioned to capture this opportunity,” said Lane Crawford Joyce Group CEO Jennifer Woo.
Walton Brown already operates the Maison Mode chain of premium shopping malls in Chengdu, Changsha, and Urumqi, which feature more than 800 brands across 800,000 square feet of retail space. The company also operates off-season fashion outlets in Chengdu, under the Times Outlets name, and Qingdao, which offer over 200 brands within a combines 600,000 square feet of retail space. The group is developing a 1.4 million square-foot development in Changsha that will open in 2016.
Currently, Lane Crawford Joyce Group’s retail management company operates under the name ImagineX. Walton Brown will take over some of ImagineX operations while expanding its scope of business. ImagineX will turn its focus to building brands aligned with Lane Crawford Joyce Group’s multi-brand fashion portfolio.
First up for Walton Brown is Juicy Couture, which was launched in China in 2006 and has been managed by ImagineX since. Walton Brown will focus on expanding Juicy Couture’s presence in China beyond the 90 current points of sale.
“There is no shortage of brands wanting an entry and growth strategy for China, it remains a complicated market and one with many constraints which we work with every day. By investing in the creation of a large-format multi-channel platform to manage new categories and brands of scale outside our current retail platform, we can move quickly on emerging trends we see in this very dynamic middle market segment,” Woo said.
Lane Crawford has a 160 year history in the China region and already works with more than 1,500 international fashion brands, including 35 brands under exclusive distribution partnerships.
image source: lane crawford joyce group