Stuart Weitzman chief executive officer Wayne Kulkin is finally a believer in Asia.
“Five years ago if you asked me, I would say Asia is a wonderful market but it’s a follower market. Now, Asia is the leading market,” Kulkin tells WWD.
Kulkin said the brand has not been affected by the luxury slowdown in China and its business there is “better than ever”.
The brand is especially keen on e-commerce, noting that it is “the biggest growth engine for the company, and it represents about 35 percent of total business in the US.
Kulkin believes that the China e-commerce potential will be huge. The company launched an e-commerce site in Hong Kong this week and will follow with a site in China this September.
“We think in three years, the China e-commerce business will be a bigger platform than any place in the world. Right now it is tremendous, but it’s really based off discounting and promotion. We think there will be a major change due to social media, where people will become very accepting of buying luxury online,” said Kulkin.
Store openings in China are still a priority. A new Stuart Weitzman Hong Kong concept store designed by architect Zaha Hadid opened in March. The company will open another seven stores in China this year, including a store in Mongolia later this month and a Beijing concept store in Shin Kong Place at the end of year, and about 15 more stores in 2015.
Store architecture is becoming increasingly important. The brand is only rolling out seven concept stores designed by the architect in “key fashion epicenters of the world”.
“If you want to get her off the iPad and into the store, you have to create an environment that is different,” Kulkin said of their customers.
image credit: Al_HikesAZ