This week in the news, high-end shoe brand Stuart Weitzman is going all in on e-commerce in China, Warren Buffet’s private jet time-share company, NetJets, is ready to take off in China, Shanghai will soon have a London flair, Estée Lauder’s recently-opened Tmall store posted impressive June sales, and Juicy Couture plans to remake itself as a lifestyle brand as it expands in China.
High-end shoe brand Stuart Weitzman is expanding its global e-commerce presence, and has identified China as one of the world’s prime markets. Weitzman unveiled a Hong Kong website three weeks ago, which is still in soft-launch mode but will be up and running completely within the next few weeks. As of right now, shoppers in Mainland China can only access Weitzman through Lane Crawford’s e-commerce site, but the brand’s American site will begin shipping to China in a month. In December, the company will launch a Chinese site, in conjunction with the Pedder Group, which handles customer service and distribution in the country. The company plans to open a store on Tmall in addition to opening more physical stores in China.
Founded in 1964, the Ohio-based NetJets offers rental of business jets; fractional ownership in which a customer buys a share of a plane rather than the entire aircraft and pays to have the use of a plane each year for certain number of hours, as well as aircraft management services such as hangaring, maintenance, and cleaning for individuals and companies. It was acquired by billionaire investor Warren Buffet three years ago. In China, the company will start by offering management services, but eventually hopes its China business “will mirror its business in the US and Europe, selling fractional ownership of aircraft and sales of so called “flight cards” with prepurchased flight hours.
London’s ubiquitous black cabs will be coming to Shanghai in September. Shanghai LTI Automobile Co., owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, will sell 200 of the black cabs to Shanghai Qiangsheng Holding Co. with the first 50 to be delivered in September. Zhejiang Geely bought a 20% stake in 2006 in London Taxi Co., the maker of the TX4 cab. Last year, Zhejiang Geely spent $18 million to acquire the principal assets of the company. The TX4 cabs, with their high roofs and open-access luggage platforms, will give priority service to passengers with special needs, such as the elderly and disabled. Shanghai LTI has already sold 1,000 TX4 cabs to cities in mainland China, including Beijing, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Nanjing, and Guangzhou.
Estée Lauder’s Tmall store is seeing some early success since launching on May 21 with robust sales in its first full month. June sales was reportedly 10 million yuan (US$1.6 million), and there are indications are that the online store has helped its offline business as well. Estée Lauder’s Tmall store saw nearly one million visitors and over two million views with products bookmarked over 50,000 times by 30,000 visitors. The Tmall shop, which had 7,941 transactions in its first day with sales estimated at 2.69 million yuan, is Estée Lauder’s only authorized third-party e-commerce site in China. In 2013, China was the company’s third-biggest market after the US and UK, and nearly half of Estée Lauder’s brands are available in China.
Authentic Brands Group, which bought the rights to Juicy Couture last year, has inked a long term deal with ImagineX Group to accelerate growth of the contemporary lifestyle fashion brand in China. The partnership is expected to add more Juicy Couture stores in China and other parts of Asia as well as add new product lines. As one of the first contemporary brands to market in China, Juicy Couture’s greater China business has consistently delivered high double-digit growth year on year and has continued to report robust growth over the past year despite the market slowdown. Juicy Couture now plans to remake itself as a lifestyle brand as it continues to expand globally.
image credit: juicy couture