Iconic American brand Brooks Brothers has revealed it plans to reposition retail efforts in China, a market which currently ranks third in revenue value behind the U.S. and Japan.
In a recent visit to China, Brooks Brothers CEO Claudio Del Vecchio said he would like Chinese consumers to be reintroduced to the US heritage men’s brand, which turns 200 years old this year.
“I think within less than two years, [China] will be our number-two country,” Del Vecchio told reporters, while speaking at one of the brand’s global bicentennial celebration parties, held in Shanghai, after events in Florence and New York this year.
“We’ve been in Japan for 40 years and it’s still very strong and growing, but not growing as strongly as China. It’s certainly our biggest opportunity for the next 10 years.
Within 10 years, it might actually be our number-one country,” he added.
As part of its celebrations, Brooks Brothers inaugurated its store at the HKRI Taikoo Hui mall, inviting brand ambassador Louis Koo, to celebrate.
With 20 retail stores and 20 outlets in mainland China, Brooks Brothers is looking to tweak its key store locations and rebrand, by positioning stores alongside recognised luxury retailers in China, not necessarily brands with the same price-point.
“Today in China, our biggest challenge is actually that customers don’t know us, [so] they might judge the quality by the price. Because our price is not that high they might not have the perception of quality that we actually have,” said Del Vecchio.
“There is a disconnect,” he added. “Our prices are so good, they don’t believe it.”
The retail shift compliments the firm’s recent efforts to attract more Chinese custom, by shifting distribution partners and tapping online marketplaces.
In 2016, Brooks Brothers shifted its China distribution from Dickson Concept, which was more of a licensee model, to being more directly operated. Still in retail partnership, Brooks Brothers changed to a new regional partner, working with Walton Brown, part of the Lane Crawford Joyce Group.
In the same year it signed an agreement to stock its namesake suits and apparel on Alibaba’s Tmall, as well as its more affordable line, Red Fleece.
“There are other opportunities we want to explore,” Del Vecchio added.