Retail in Asia

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Moda Operandi eyes Asia growth says CEO

US luxury e-commerce site Moda Operandi plans to open physical stores in key Asian cities in the next 18 months, as part of its international expansion and zoning in on the region, according to the New York company’s CEO.

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“We’re embarking on an international expansion right away,” the firm’s CEO, Deborah Nicodemus, told WWD in a recent interview. “Our senior team is looking at taking the expansion plan to an operational level.”

Moda Operandi is looking to open consumer-facing showrooms in China, Singapore and Seoul.

“[A showroom] is something we’re currently working to secure,” Nicodemus said. “We hope to have a physical showroom in the region [Asia] within the next year to year-and-a-half.”

The brand is well-positioned given it recorded it first profits last financial year and then in December, it received $165 million from Apax Digital and Chow Tai Fook heir Adrian Chen, in a funding round. And sales continue to grow.

In 2017, Moda Operandi’s international market segment grew 69%, of which Asia represents 8%. Domestic business, which represents 65% of sales posting a 50% increase over last year, with stellar performances across non-apparel, which surged 70% and the biggest gainer — fine jewellery — which skyrocketed 47%.

The firm trialled a Style Suite at Upper House in Central Hong Kong as part of the recently ended Art Basel. Both luxury fashion consumers and tourists came to shop the trunk show set-up, said the CEO.

In Hong Kong, non-apparel and fashion purchases prove equally as popular as each other with shoppers embracing emerging designers, just as strongly as they do big name brands. Nicodemus said that key labels for Hong Kong shoppers include Giambattista Valli and Marchesa, and the lesser known Johanna Ortiz, Monse and Boyy.

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“We know consumers in Hong Kong are fashion-forward and savvy when it comes to how they shop,” Nicodemus said. “They’re looking for the best of the runway along with access to emerging designers.”

Founded in 2011 as a platform for post-runway pre-orders, the New York-based firm has since evolved its offer with a more conventional luxury e-shop offering established and emerging design talent.